A teacher was caught drinking on the job after a staff member overheard a bag of jangling cans being dumped in a school bin.

Karen Doyle had cans of fruit cider and pre-mixed gin and tonic in her office which she drank during school hours.

Doyle was Assistant Headteacher at Laurence Jackson School in Guisborough in November 2022 when she was caught disposing of empty cans in an Aldi bag.

She faced a possible ban or suspension from teaching but will be allowed straight back into the classroom.

A teaching misconduct hearing was told a staff member heard “what sounded like a large number of empty cans or bottles” being binned. When the bins were checked eight empty cans of drink were found in the bag which Doyle was caught binning on CCTV.

The 2008 ‘Outstanding Teacher of the Year’ winner was suspended in November 2022 and left the school in January 2023.

Doyle told the misconduct hearing she had drunk up to four cans of fruit cider on three or four separate occasions at school, and one can of gin and tonic, during school hours over a period of three weeks.

The English teacher, who had worked at the school since 1996, admitted it was “totally unacceptable” but said she did not drink before teaching. She said if she did drink it was “in the afternoon such as after a particularly difficult meeting”.

The misconduct panel said her behaviour was unprofessional and said her drinking could have placed pupils at risk.

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It heard she was on a phased return from work at the time and had been stressed, struggling with workload, but said this was no excuse for her drinking on the job.

Concluding the hearing the panel said: “Mrs Doyle had consumed a limited amount of alcohol in the School and there was no evidence to suggest she was inebriated at work. The panel found that Mrs Doyle had consumed alcohol on school premises during a limited period of time and at periods of extreme stress.

“The panel considered that a member of the public, with full background knowledge of the circumstances in which Mrs Doyle found herself at the time, would not consider this behaviour to meet the threshold of bringing the teaching profession into disrepute.”