Former Sussex teacher who turned up at school "under the influence of alcohol" banned from teaching

A former Crawley teacher who turned up to school still under the influence of alcohol after drinking the previous night has been banned indefinitely from the classroom.

Thursday, 12th September 2019, 10:53 pm

John Stanway, 46, who was taken on as a science teacher at Hazelwick School in September 2017 but who was sacked in January 2018, was found guilty by a Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) panel in Coventry of “unacceptable professional conduct” which could bring the teaching profession into disrepute.

As well as turning up to take a class “under the influence of alcohol” and smelling of drink, he was also found to have left a class unattended during a lesson while he went to make a cup of coffee and to have played loud music during a lesson.

He was cleared of failing to adhere to an anticipated lesson plan and failing to control noise levels and behaviour of pupils during a lesson.

As far as the drink allegation was concerned, the panel said they considered his conduct was “outside that which could reasonably be tolerated”.

The panel went on to examine Mr Stanway’s more contemporaneous account of events. The panel reviewed email evidence from Mr Stanway to the School’s HR manager, which he provided immediately after the incident. In this he stated, “I had drunk alcohol from the previous evening and at the time of leaving home I felt sober and that alcohol had left my system and I was safe to drive.

"Once out in the air and as the morning progressed I don’t know why but I felt the effects coming back on.” He also stated, “I realised that I was still feeling the effects of the alcohol.” He made further admissions that, “I am not denying that I was under the influence of alcohol when I was in the school last Friday morning.”

As far as smelling of alcohol was concerned he said he had spilled a lot of drink on himself and on his bed the night before and had not had time to take a shower before going to the school. He said this would explain why there was a strong smell of alcohol on him.

Imposing an indefinite ban on him, though leaving the way open for him to seek to have the ban lifted after two years TRA chief executive, Alan Meyrick, said he considered a ban was both “proportionate and in the public interest.”

However, he said he considered Mr Stanway should be able to seek to have the ban lifted after two years, but stressed that for it to be lifted another panel would have to be satisfied that he was fit to return to teaching and that if they did not the ban would remain in place.

It is open to Mr Stanway to challenge the ban and the findings at the High Court.