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A school worker has been banned from teaching for a year after she took ‘compassionate leave’ to go on a romantic break to Rome – and was caught when colleagues saw her holiday snaps on Facebook.

Teaching assistant Ella Griffith, 25, skipped classes to pose for Roman holiday pictures at the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, Vatican City and the Forum after taking leave on compassionate grounds from class.

The primary school worker told staff she needed time off because she had a ‘serious personal matter at home’ – then was seen eating pasta, drinking cocktails and relaxing in a hot tub.

A misconduct panel heard she used the long weekend to fly to Italy with her boyfriend, who later posted their holiday pictures online.

The Education Workforce Council heard Miss Griffith was employed as a learning support assistant working 30-hour weeks at Ysgol Cybi school in Holyhead, Anglesey.

Headteacher Rhian Grieve said Miss Griffith asked for some time off just days after schools returned in September last year following closures during the Covid pandemic.

Ella Griffith, 25, skipped classes to pose for Roman holiday pictures at the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, Vatican City and the Forum after taking leave on compassionate grounds

Ella Griffith, 25, skipped classes to pose for Roman holiday pictures at the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, Vatican City and the Forum after taking leave on compassionate grounds

Ella Griffith, 25, skipped classes to pose for Roman holiday pictures at the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, Vatican City and the Forum after taking leave on compassionate grounds

A misconduct panel heard she used the long weekend to fly to Italy with her boyfriend who later posted their holiday pictures online

A misconduct panel heard she used the long weekend to fly to Italy with her boyfriend who later posted their holiday pictures online

A misconduct panel heard she used the long weekend to fly to Italy with her boyfriend who later posted their holiday pictures online

A misconduct panel heard she used the long weekend to fly to Italy with her boyfriend who later posted their holiday pictures online

A misconduct panel heard she used the long weekend to fly to Italy with her boyfriend who later posted their holiday pictures online

Headteacher Rhian Grieve said Miss Griffith asked for some time off just days after schools returned in September last year following closures during the Covid pandemic

Headteacher Rhian Grieve said Miss Griffith asked for some time off just days after schools returned in September last year following closures during the Covid pandemic

Headteacher Rhian Grieve said Miss Griffith asked for some time off just days after schools returned in September last year following closures during the Covid pandemic

Ms Grieve said: ‘She spoke with me on September 17, 2020, and asked to leave early the following day and return on September 23.

‘The situation appeared critical in that Ella Griffith’s family needed her and she requested compassionate leave.’

The headteacher said she was alerted by other staff members that Miss Griffith’s boyfriend posted pictures of them posing in front of a Roman fountain. Other pictures included the couple drinking in an ice bar and riding on e-scooters through the city.

She said that when Miss Griffith was confronted about her absence upon returning, she initially lied, saying she had flown to Italy over the weekend.

Ms Grieve said Miss Griffith was asked to provide her airline tickets as proof but then later ‘confessed she’d lied at the length of time away’.

The Education Workforce Council heard Miss Griffith was employed as a learning support assistant working 30-hour weeks at Ysgol Cybi school in Holyhead, Anglesey

The Education Workforce Council heard Miss Griffith was employed as a learning support assistant working 30-hour weeks at Ysgol Cybi school in Holyhead, Anglesey

The Education Workforce Council heard Miss Griffith was employed as a learning support assistant working 30-hour weeks at Ysgol Cybi school in Holyhead, Anglesey

The primary school worker told staff she needed time off because she had a ‘serious personal matter at home’ – then was seen eating pasta, drinking cocktails and relaxing in a hot tub

The primary school worker told staff she needed time off because she had a ‘serious personal matter at home’ – then was seen eating pasta, drinking cocktails and relaxing in a hot tub

The primary school worker told staff she needed time off because she had a ‘serious personal matter at home’ – then was seen eating pasta, drinking cocktails and relaxing in a hot tub

The panel heard she then failed to turn up to the school for the following two days – texting bosses to say she wouldn’t be in but not phoning.

Miss Griffith, who is not at the hearing and has since left the school, was found guilty of four misconduct allegations relating to her time away and the subsequent days after.

Although cleared of ‘knowingly’ using the time off to travel to Italy, committee chair Sue Davies said: ‘Travel from the UK during the first year of the Covid pandemic meant international travel from the UK was not straightforward and required for example booking Covid tests to enable flying.

‘It strikes the committee as inherently unlikely Miss Griffiths would have been completely unaware of the proposed travel plans with her partner.’

Ms Davies said: ‘Miss Griffith knew or must have known during the course of her leave in Italy was the school was being misled to the principle reason for her absence.

The headteacher said she was alerted by other staff members that Miss Griffith’s boyfriend posted pictures of them posing in front of a Roman fountain

The headteacher said she was alerted by other staff members that Miss Griffith’s boyfriend posted pictures of them posing in front of a Roman fountain

The headteacher said she was alerted by other staff members that Miss Griffith’s boyfriend posted pictures of them posing in front of a Roman fountain

‘Her actions were clearly dishonest and furthermore she was not truthful with the school when first questioned about the incident and initially gave a series of misleading responses.

‘Miss Griffiths by taking compassionate leave while going on holiday has acted in a manipulative and dishonest manner in doing so she demonstrated no regard for the impact this could have on her school or her colleagues.

‘It departed significantly from professional and ethical standards displaying a lack of integrity.’

In her absence, the committee found that her conduct was dishonest but found one of the charges – that she had applied for compassionate leave in the knowledge that she was going on holiday – was not proved. 

Source: Daily Mail

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