A TEACHING assistant who posted photographs online of fellow staff members swearing at the camera and performing a "sexual innuendo" with a toy crocodile has been reprimanded.

Robyn Johns, who worked at Hafod y Wern School in Caia Park, Wrexham, admitted 'unacceptable professional conduct' in her role as a learning support worker with children with special needs after she posted a number of pictures on Facebook during the summer of 2017.

Appearing at a Fitness to Practice Committee hearing of the Education Workforce Council (EWC) held at Venue Cymru in Llandudno, Ms Johns, 27, admitted uploading four pictures in total, two of which featured classroom staff with the toy crocodile which had been brought in for role playing with pupils, while another showed staff wearing a horse’s head with the fourth image, which was a 'selfie', showing two staff members raising their fingers in an offensive gesture.

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Ms Johns, of Wrexham, now working in a pre-school nursery, told the hearing she had taken pictures of staff on the last day of the summer term in 2017 which she later uploaded to Facebook where they had been 'liked' by other staff.

Patrick Llewelyn, representing officer for the EWC, said some of the pictures showed "misuse of a reptile" in a position which implied "sexual innuendo".

The fourth image had been posted on September 11, 2017, just days after Ms Johns and other staff had been given training by the school explaining how to be careful using social media.

One picture also showed a more senior member of the teaching staff with the hearing told she had not given permission for the photo to be taken or uploaded on Facebook, leaving her “upset” that images were taken in her classroom.

None of the images featured pupils and no parent or pupil had made a complaint about them.

On the first day of the hearing Ms Johns admitted two allegations of posting the pictures online and one allegation of 'unacceptable professional conduct', adding she was "upset and mortified" that the incident had, according to headmaster Simon Edwards, "put the school in a bad light".

Addressing the hearing on its second morning, Richard Parry Jones, chairing the Fitness to Practice Committee, said all three allegations had been proven.

He added that although the committee felt Mr Edwards was "very measured" in his evidence, deputy head teacher Nicola Hughes, who had carried out an investigation into the incident, was "not forthcoming" with her answers.

He said: "Ms Johns admitted the facts of the allegations and agreed her behaviour displayed serious professional misconduct.

"She was clear, credible, open and honest and did not attribute the blame to others".

He added the photographs were inappropriate as they were taken in a school setting and the school could be identified by clothing and lanyards worn by the staff.

The images also displayed inappropriate behaviour and had been taken without the permission of a staff members who was pictured.

"She (Ms Johns) should have been a role model and her actions had the potential to bring the school into disrepute," Mr Parry Jones added.

"She exposed her colleagues and the school to a potential risk and she failed to uphold public trust and confidence or behave with respect to fellow professionals.

"Her behaviour fell short of the standards expected by a professional person."

The committee, which has the power to decide on whether a teaching staff's registration is affected by disciplinary orders ranging from a reprimand to a prohibition order meaning the individual will no longer be allowed to practise in Wales, reprimanded Ms Johns meaning her registration will not be affected and she can continue practising teaching, although a record of the reprimand will last for two years.

"We are satisfied Ms Johns has shown insight into her unprofessional conduct and she has demonstrated a commitment to furthering her career," added Mr Parry Jones.

"She has displayed genuine remorse and regret and expressed her apologies."