A nursery teacher referred to three-year-old kids as “little sh*ts” and told a colleague to get children out of her face before she did “some serious damage”, a misconduct hearing was told. 

Angela Hughes, 48, was employed at SS Peter and Paul’s Catholic Primary School in Ilford when a parent raised concerns that she had physically dragged pupils across the room by their arm. 

This sparked an investigation which saw other allegations come to light, including that she left pupils frightened by shouting at them in an uncontrolled manner, regularly referred to them in derogatory terms and snatched toys away from them. 

Miss Hughes left the school following the conclusion of the investigation in February 2019. 

Earlier this month (November 2, 2023) a Teaching Regulation Agency misconduct hearing decided that Miss Hughes should be banned from the profession. 

The following details emerged from that misconduct hearing. 

Miss Hughes denies all of the allegations against her. 

She was employed by the school in September 2016 as a nursery teacher with a class of three to four-year-olds. 

In September 2018 a parent who was waiting outside to collect her children said she saw Miss Hughes grab two children by their arms and pull them into the nursery room from the garden.  

She described the two children as just playing like the rest of the children before Miss Hughes physically handled them. 

The parent said: “Miss Hughes had grabbed a child by the arm and pulled them away towards her. At that point I felt sicked to my stomach and full of fear because does this happen to my child on a daily basis.” 

Miss Hughes later said she was intervening on a fight between the two children. 

But the misconduct panel said Miss Hughes’ account had evolved over time and that it was more likely than not that Miss Hughes had grabbed more than one pupil by the arm to bring them back into the nursery room at the end of the morning, rather than to prevent fights between them. 

One employee at the school who was interviewed about Miss Hughes said she overheard her making comments that the children were “little sh*ts” and “little gits”, while the children were within earshot. 

The same employee said that during a discussion about one boy’s progress through school, Miss Hughes said: “It's never going to happen he's thick.” 

They also claimed that on one occasion Miss Hughes said “to other staff members words to the effect of ‘to get children out of her face before she did some serious damage”. 

Miss Hughes denied these allegations and said her colleague had made it up as they did not have a good working relationship. 

However, she said she may have called the kids “little gits” in a social setting but not in the classroom. 

The misconduct panel said the employee’s account was reliable and concluded that it was more likely than not that Miss Hughes used inappropriate language. 

A separate witness claimed she once walked into the nursery as Miss Hughes was shouting at the children in an uncontrolled manner which left them looking frightened. 

Another witness said this was a regular occurrence. 

Miss Hughes denied that it was a regular occurrence but said she did once raise her voice when she was overwhelmed. 

The misconduct panel found this was inappropriate and unprofessional as a method of communicating with children of such a young age. 

The panel also concluded that on one occasion Miss Hughes snatched a toybox from a child and forcibly threw toys into the box, and that she failed to intervene on another member of staff’s inappropriate behaviour. 

The Teaching Regulation Agency decision maker David Oatley said: “The panel considered that the evidence demonstrated a regular pattern of behaviour in the presence of children which was not acceptable.” 

Mr Oatley added: “Parents and the community place their utmost trust in teachers whilst children are in their care. 

“In this case, there was evidence of parents being concerned about leaving their children in the care of the school after seeing Miss Hughes act in the way she did. 

“This was a clear example of how the reputation of the teaching profession might be significantly weakened, if that fundamental trust were broken.” 

It was therefore decided that Miss Hughes should be banned from teaching in England indefinitely.