Ash Manor School in Surrey dismissed a teacher for her comments about a trans student (Facebook)
A teacher has been dismissed for gross misconduct after vowing to block a trans student from ever becoming Head Girl.
French teacher Susan Field from Ash Manor School in Surrey was sacked after a conversation with 21 pupils in her Year 11 tutor group was reported by a pupil’s mother.
The Teaching Regulation Agency panel found Field guilty of making “derogatory” remarks during a 2019 discussion about the trans pupil’s intentions to join the Student Senior Leadership Team as a role model, the Mirror reports.
Field was found to have failed to interject when other pupils used “hostile and derogatory language” against their transgender classmate, describing her as “it”, “that” and “disgusting”, a disciplinary hearing was told.
She was accused of referring to the student as “that”, which she denied, but admitted to saying that “children as young as 11” should not be introduced to “that kind of thing” or “that sort of thing”. She also admitted that she promised to use her vote to rank the pupil below the other candidates.
Field told her former bosses: “I did intend to use my teacher vote to rank Pupil I in last place, as I felt that Pupil I was the least representative student to be Head Student in a school of 900+ children.”
Field said she had told her tutor group: “It’s not appropriate for a member of the LGBTQI to represent Ash Manor School.”
During the investigation she also admitted that she felt that “children as young as 11 years old might be confused or uncomfortable with having Pupil I as a role model”.
Teacher allowed ‘hostile and derogatory language’ towards trans student
The trans student, referred to as Pupil I, had publicly identified as female since the start of a previous academic year.
School staff were briefed that she identified as a girl, would have a girl’s name and that female pronouns should be used when referring to her.
Chris Rushton, who chaired the panel, said: “There were numerous examples that a number of derogatory or hurtful remarks had been made by pupils against Pupil I based on Pupil I being transgender during the tutor group conversation.
“The panel found it concerning that Ms Field had allowed such hostile and derogatory language to be used and had not challenged it during the discussion.
“Ms Field admitted that at no stage during the discussion did she interject to admonish pupils for making derogatory comments.”
Field told the school’s internal inquiry: “I did express an opinion and deeply regret it. I realise now it was wrong. It was not professional. I realise that now and regret the whole thing. At that point in time, my comment didn’t show respect.”
Field was dismissed for gross misconduct after a disciplinary hearing into her remarks and subsequently lost her appeal.
It’s understood that she had been among the highest-paid teachers at Ash Manor, having taught from November 2012 up until her dismissal in June 2019.