A secondary school teacher has been banned after teaching a science lesson while drunk and smelling of alcohol.
John Stanway claimed he had drunk heavily the night before turning up to work at Hazelwick School in Crawley, but felt sober until he “felt the effects coming back on” upon arrival on November 3, 2017.
He drove to school after waking up late and not showering to take his first lesson of the day, which he later walked out of for 10 minutes or more to go and make a coffee.
The now 46-year-old did not attend a Teaching Regulation Agency professional conduct panel hearing on July 29, at which four allegations were found proved in relation to him being under the influence, leaving the lesson, playing loud music during the lesson and not controlling the noise levels and behaviour of pupils.
Mr Stanway was a teacher at Hazelwick Secondary School in Crawley
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Mr Stanway was subsequently prohibited from teaching in England indefinitely. He cannot apply for the order to set aside until 2021.
Immediately after teaching his morning lesson, the teacher emailed the school’s HR manager and said: “I am not denying that I was under the influence of alcohol when I was in the school last Friday morning.”
According to the panel hearing’s report, a teaching assistant reported Mr Stanway smelling of alcohol, while the HR manager said “his behaviour in what he was saying to me was consistent with that of a person who was in fact under the influence of alcohol”.
Claiming his actions may have been due to a hangover, Mr Stanway said that he missed the 7.30am deadline to phone in sick and was “too tired and dehydrated” to set cover work.
He put the smell of alcohol down to spilling “a lot drinks” on himself the night before and not showering. The panel found this evidence to be “jumbled and contradictory”.
During his alcohol-fuelled lesson, Mr Stanway not only left to go and make himself a drink, but also reportedly “used his laptop to play pop music through its speakers”, letting students go up and choose tracks to put on.
He didn’t dispute this, but claimed he had put the radio on “at the end of the lesson as the students had finished marking their tests”.
A witness statement said that the teacher was “not exercising his usual level of control over the class” and “appeared tired and disorganised” during the lesson.
The panel found an allegation that Mr Stanway failed to adhere to an anticipated lesson plan not proved, due to the fact that he followed a plan of pupils marking an internal exam paper that they had recently completed.
Mr Stanway’s actions in relation to being drunk were found to amount to misconduct of a serious nature, but the other allegations were not found to.
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It was noted that the case was an isolated incident and “was not done deliberately to harm students”, but a prohibition order was necessary “in order to maintain public confidence in the profession”.
Hazelwick School has been contacted for comment. Mr Stanway was sacked by the school in January 2018, with an appeal against the decision dismissed in April 2018.