14th February, 2022 2:01 pm
Rookie teacher Daniel Murphy said he was “out of his depth” during the incident at Kirkby High School in Knowsley, Merseyside, and hesitated because he hadn’t had relevant training
Daniel Murphy was fired from Kirkby High School, in Knowsley, Merseyside, after accepting he “failed to safeguard” a child during the assault in his science lesson.
On November 21, 2019, Mr Murphy was teaching when the student (Pupil A) was “taken to the floor” by a classmate before being kicked by several others, reports the Liverpool Echo.
The teacher is said to have hesitated because he didn’t know what to do having never received any training on managing such behaviour.
A professional conduct panel heard how Mr Murphy, who did not hold Qualified Teacher Status, failed to intervene for around two minutes and it was down to other staff passing through who had to step in instead.
As a result of the incident, he was suspended pending an investigation and was then dismissed following a disciplinary hearing.
The panel accepted Mr Murphy’s actions were not deliberate and that he “froze” because he was not sure what to do in this situation.
The report said: “He was an inexperienced teacher who did not hold ‘Qualified Teacher Status’ and had not received training from the School (or in any previous courses) on managing the behaviour of pupils.
“The panel was made aware of, and accepted, that a serious incident involving another pupil making threats to him with a broken glass and fire extinguisher in the month or so prior to the incident with Pupil A was likely to have a made an impact on his decision-making ability.”
Mr Murphy attended the hearing and stressed how he was “deeply ashamed” of how he handled the situation.
He said he was “out of his depth” and had severely let down Pupil A.
The panel found Mr Murphy failed to take appropriate action to the incident and failed to safeguard the wellbeing of a pupil.
The panel observed: “Whilst the panel recognised this appeared to be an isolated incident, it considered Mr Murphy’s disregard for safeguarding Pupil A whilst being assaulted initially by one pupil and then by a number of other pupils as a fundamental failing on his part.
“The panel also considered that Mr Murphy had spent a significant amount of time and effort reflecting on this incident and what he would do differently should he find himself in similar circumstances.”
A decision was made not to give Mr Murphy a prohibition order, which would have prevented him from teaching in a school.
The panel said: “I have concluded that a prohibition order is not proportionate and in the public interest in order to achieve the intended aims of a prohibition order.
“I agree with the panel that publication of the adverse findings is sufficient to send an appropriate message to the teacher as to the standards of behaviour that are not acceptable.”
Kirkby High School and The Rowan Learning Trust said they were “pleased” the outcome supports the decision they made as a school.
A spokesperson said: “We are pleased that the outcome of the Professional Conduct Panel supports the decision of the school and trust disciplinary process.
“Kirkby High School and The Rowan Learning Trust take our safeguarding responsibilities seriously.
“All members of staff receive regular safeguarding and behaviour management training. Staff and students are fully supported by clear policies and practices,” they added.
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