A female teacher who was sacked for letting pupils as young as 15 pose topless and simulate masturbation for a school project has defended it as ‘art’ and claimed she is a victim of a ‘deep injustice’.
Emma Wright, 41, has been banned from teaching indefinitely after allowing students at Huxlow Science College in Northamptonshire to take partially naked photos of themselves and others for a ‘highly inappropriate’ school art project.
The Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) ruled that the class, which also included pupils holding cigarettes and alcohol, had broken safeguarding rules and ordered Mrs Wright to be struck off.
But she today complained to Government officials and said she will never return to teaching.
She told The Sun: ‘I feel there is a deep injustice about it, but I am not going to appeal because I no longer wish to teach. I have written to my MP, the union and the Education Minister regarding this.
‘I am a good person. I am not the person they are making out to be. I really feel very strongly about it. I am really quite upset about it. It is a position I never thought I would be in.
‘Those students were wonderful students. I have no bad feelings towards those students at all.’
Mrs Wright was reported to the TRA in 2018 after the portfolio of teenagers’ work was found by the school’s head of art and design.
But she accused the watchdog of having ‘no understanding of art and education’.
Art teacher Emma Wright has been struck off by the Teaching Regulation Agency after allowing pupils to pose topless in a piece of artwork
Mrs Wright, an experienced teacher of good character, told the panel that she introduced the pupils to a new artist who created ‘suggestive pictures’
The teacher added: ‘I am hoping the local community are as shocked as I am, and as sad and angry. They know me. I have taught in that school for a long time.
‘So I am hoping that I will be fairly represented because it is quite hurtful.’
Mrs Wright, an experienced teacher of good character, told the panel that she introduced the pupils to a new artist who created ‘suggestive pictures’.
However, she insisted she told the students this did not mean they should create similar work.
She said that she did not consider the artist’s work to be sexual in nature, but she did accept that, with hindsight, she should have told the pupils their photographs were not appropriate.
The report stated: ‘Mrs Wright informed the panel that she had told the pupils that she did not expect them to be naked, but to use their arm, face, or something. During her evidence, Mrs Wright stated that art is a process.
‘On balance, the panel determined that Mrs Wright would have seen the photographs that had been produced by the pupils before the final artwork had been produced.’
Decision-maker Alan Meyrick concluded that Mrs Wright had committed a serious breach of professional teaching standards, and failed to safeguard pupils’ well-being.
Decision-maker Alan Meyrick concluded that Mrs Wright had committed a serious breach of professional teaching standards, and failed to safeguard pupils’ well-being
He said: ‘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.’
The panel also heard that Mrs Wright was ordered by the school not to discuss her suspension but later informed a colleague, whom she had earlier confided in.
The report added: ‘The panel was mindful that Mrs Wright had discussed the suspension with two individuals on separate occasions, and that this risked the confidentiality of the school’s investigation, as well as the reputation of the school.’
Mrs Wright has been banned from teaching indefinitely in England and cannot apply for a review of the ban until 2024.