Portsmouth school praised for swift action against teacher who shared bed with pupils

SCHOOL Emma Hartfield was a teacher at Mayfield School, North End.
SCHOOL Emma Hartfield was a teacher at Mayfield School, North End.

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PORTSMOUTH City Council has praised Mayfield School for its swift action in dismissing a teacher after she became involved with two pupils.

As reported in The News yesterday, a disciplinary hearing was told how history teacher Emma Harfield was involved with two boys at the North End school.

The 29-year-old gave them gifts and shared a bed with the boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons. She has now been banned from her profession.

But she was not subject to criminal proceedings in relation to the case.

Councillor Rob Wood is the cabinet member for children and education at the council.

He said: ‘The school acted appropriately in dealing with this issue, which happened some time ago.

‘In the three years since, Mayfield School has had a change of leadership with a new headteacher and a new deputy head appointed, and has undergone significant change and improvement.’

Ms Harfield, who joined the school as a trainee teacher in 2007, had been contacting the boys by phone, by text and through Skype.

Staff at the school, in Mayfield Road, raised their concerns and Ms Harfield was dismissed in April 2011.

At a disciplinary hearing of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, Ms Harfield’s behaviour was found to have amounted to sexual misconduct. The report revealed the boys slept over at Ms Harfield’s home. She gave one an iPad and a laptop.

Julian Wooster is the council’s director of children’s services, and said: ‘I can confirm that a staff member was suspended from Mayfield School in May 2011 and a police investigation followed.

‘No criminal charges were brought but she was dismissed from her post for unacceptable conduct.

‘The welfare of our pupils is our highest priority and any concerns about staff members are taken very seriously.’

Ms Harfield was given a prohibition order which is an indefinite ban from working in schools, colleges or children’s homes.

David Jeapes, headteacher of Mayfield School who joined in September 2011, refused to comment on the issue.