Northamptonshire art teacher banned over students' 'highly inappropriate' photos

Panel rules serious breach of professional standards and lack of safeguarding pupils’ well-being

Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 11:52 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 1:41 pm

An art teacher who allowed pupils at a Northamptonshire school to take photos of a sexual nature for a project has been banned from teaching.

The Teaching Regulation Agency ruled Emma Wright, aged 41, permitted pupils, some as young as 15, to take partially naked pictures of themselves and others.

It said the photos of children wearing only underwear and holding alcohol or using hands to cover breasts were “highly inappropriate” and she had broken safeguarding rules.

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A Northamptonshire teacher has been banned for permitting pupils, some as young as 15, to take partially naked pictures of themselves and others

Other photos showed students making offensive hand gestures while wearing school uniform, smoking and posing in swimwear.

Mrs Wright was reported to the TRA by the school after the portfolio of pupils' work was discovered by the school's head of the art and design.

She told a panel hearing last month that she had introduced a new artist to students which she accepted did "suggestive pictures” but she had told the students this did not mean for them to create similar work.

Although Mrs Wright added that in her opinion the artist’s work was not sexual in nature but she did accept that, with hindsight, she should have told the pupils their photographs were not appropriate.

Decision-maker Alan Meyrick concluded Ms Wright had committed a serious breach of professional teaching standards, as well as failing to safeguard pupils' well-being.

She was an experienced teacher who had been at the school since 2004 and "was of previous good history".

Mr Meyrick added: “Whilst the panel was satisfied that there was a low risk of repetition, it did not find that Mrs Wright had fully reflected on the safeguarding implications of allowing pupils to take photographs of themselves or others in a state of undress.

“The risk of harm, due to the lack of safeguarding pupils, was a significant factor in forming that opinion.

“In my view, it is necessary to impose a prohibition order in order to maintain public confidence in the profession. ”

Mrs Wright has been banned from teaching indefinitely anywhere in England and cannot apply for a review of the ban until 2024.

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