Headteacher banned from teaching for life after 'shunning' girl at risk of child sex exploitation when she was labelled a 'troublemaker'

Vanessa Jukes was appointed to the Barnsley school, South Yorkshire, in 2010

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The Independent Online

A head teacher has been banned from teaching for life after it was revealed she shunned a vulnerable schoolgirl allegedly at risk of being sexually groomed when the child was labelled a troublemaker.

The girl, referred to as Pupil A in the tribunal, reportedly felt safe only while at High Well Special Needs Schools in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

But the tribunal heard head teacher Vanessa Jukes, 55, appeared to consider the child a troublemaker and cancelled her taxi to school indefinitely after an incident in 2011.

“If mum rings, we will say need a meeting - but not to rush one. Don't want her in this week at least!" She reportedly emailed a colleague shortly afterwards. Her email was understood by the tribunal to mean she did not want the girl in her school for a period of time.

Pupil A was among 38 children under Ms Jukes care from her appointment in June 2010, some of whom suffered from severe emotional, social, behavioural and learning difficulties.

However, Pupil A was also on the child protection register and there were worries she may have been at risk of child sex exploitation, the tribunal heard.

A parent support advisor, who attended regular child protection meetings concerning Pupil A, claimed by the girl “was at greater risk” after the taxi was cancelled as “she could again associate with other individuals involved in child sex exploitation”.

They added the taxi’s cancellation “meant Pupil A had too much time on her hands. This would make her more vulnerable because of her need for attention of any kind."

Ms Jukes had claimed the girl was not in any additional danger.

However, the tribunal also found her system to monitor the children’s locations did not work.

Older children were allowed off-site for placements – such as working in the local stables – but Ms Jukes system did not adequately record their locations.

An administrative officer told the tribunal she was ordered to “mark as present within the school” one child who had been missing from home for two weeks.

Hearing the evidence, the tribunal elected to ban Ms Jukes from teaching for life for unacceptable professional conduct.