South West Wales

Cocaine use teacher banned from classroom for life

A teacher sacked after being convicted of possessing cocaine has been banned from the profession for life.

Kathryn Thomas, 39, was an art teacher at Ysgol Gyfun Ystalafera, near Swansea, when she was caught with cocaine, amphetamines and cannabis.

Thomas, of Pontardulais, said she had used the drugs as a "pick-me-up" after a relationship ended.

The General Teaching Council for Wales' committee sitting at Cardiff gave her an indefinite classroom ban.

Thomas had been given an 18-month community order and an £85 fine after pleading guilty to possessing 2.54 grams of cocaine, 35.8 grams of amphetamines and a cannabis plant.

She said she had turned to drugs after going through a traumatic break-up.

'Detrimental'

The GTCW's Professional Conduct Committee heard her court conviction had damaged the reputation of the school.

David Williams, acting headteacher at the time of Thomas's dismissal, said: "Her drugs conviction had a detrimental effect on the reputation of the school.

"I feel it could be considered gross misconduct and there were elements of a dereliction of duty.

"She was staying up late and drinking. It was obvious she had developed a pattern of turning up later and later for work with other staff covering for her."

Thomas was not present at the disciplinary hearing.

Presenting officer Lousha Brill said: "Possession of drugs in such large quantities directly affects her fitness to work as a teacher.

"Teachers hold a position of trust and responsibility. They are expected to adhere to lofty standards of behaviour and should act as a role model for pupils.

"She did not set a positive example to pupils and she has brought the profession's reputation into disrepute."

Chair of the panel Richard Parry Jones said: "Her behaviour is fundamentally incompatible with that expected of a registered teacher."

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