Teacher cleared after four-year-old boy allowed to wander out of Liverpool school alone

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Panel finds Evangeline Edwin had failed to safeguard but had not been dishonest.

A teacher who let a young child leave a Liverpool primary school unaccompanied has escaped punishment.

A Teacher Regulation Agency panel said they believed Evangeline Edwin’s account that she genuinely believed she had released a four-year-boy into the care of an appropriate adult after lessons at Childwall Church of England Primary School in November 2019. Over two days, the hearing was told how the boy, known as Pupil A, was able to leave school alone and was found almost half-a-mile away on his own.

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Miss Edwin asserted to the panel that she had released the boy to the care of an adult. Nigel Shock, chair of the panel, said this represented that the former agency teacher had failed to prevent the child leaving but she could not have ensured the child attended the football club he was intended to be at as she was not aware of the session.

Mr Shock said evidence given by Wendy Mason, headteacher at Childwall, had been “inconsistent” and at no point had a formal statement been taken from Miss Edwin about what happened. It was said how while the teacher had failed to adequately safeguard Pupil A, there was “insufficient evidence” that she had been properly aware of the school’s policies and procedures around releasing children at the end of the day.

The chair said Miss Edwin had been told it was “no big deal” and she should ask who the adults attending the school at the end of the day were collecting, then let the child out accordingly. Miss Edwin said in evidence she had followed this procedure two days before the incident occurred.

Mr Shock said there was also insufficient evidence of Miss Edwin being given appropriate training as to the release procedures. As to whether the former teacher had given an inaccurate account of events, it was found she had not intended to mislead the school or panel, and had “genuinely believed” her version of events – that she had handed Pupil A over to an appropriate adult – was true.

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As a result, on the balance of probabilities, it was found that while Miss Edwin had not done as she had said, her conduct was not deemed to be dishonest. Mr Shock said the panel was not satisfied that Miss Edwin’s actions had represented misconduct of a serious nature and deemed she was not guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

The panel chair said they were not convinced the incident on November 27, 2019 had constituted behaviour that would bring the teaching profession into disrepute. No sanctions were subsequently conferred upon Miss Edwin.

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