A 'kind and compassionate' teacher who drank a bottle of vodka before crashing her car has been spared a ban from the profession.

Claire Bailey, who most recently taught at Grateley Primary School, was convicted of drink driving last year.

On February 11, 2021, she narrowly avoided a head on collision, subsequently coming to a stop on a grassy bank in Sloe Lane between Micheldever and Stoke Charity after sinking a bottle of the spirit.

She was arrested for failing to comply with officers and returned a reading of 91 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath when tested - more than double the legal limit.

Magistrates fined her £416 with a £42 victim surcharge and £85 costs. They banned her from driving for 23 months.

In May this year, Ms Bailey, who resigned from the primary school where she had spent more than five years last July, attended a professional conduct panel which she requested to be held in private.

The panel found she had been in breach of two professional standards by her actions, including the betrayal of public trust. While it was noted that the offence took place outside of the education setting and no pupils were involved, the panel said Ms Bailey’s actions touched upon her profession as a teacher, especially as she was driving close to a primary school while intoxicated.

It was further considered that public confidence in the profession could be 'seriously weakened' if Ms Bailey's conduct was not treated with the 'utmost seriousness'.

READ MORE: Concerns raised for inmates as mysterious cabling issue causes disruption at Winchester prison

Several mitigating factors were redacted from the report for medical reasons, although it was agreed that Ms Bailey was experiencing personal difficulties and extreme stress which triggered the incident. The panel was shown extensive evidence which it said demonstrated 'exceptionally high' standards in both personal and professional conduct.

A number of character references were also submitted on her behalf, one said: "Miss Bailey is an inspirational teacher and frequently enabled her children to reach far beyond academic and emotional expectations. She was always kind and compassionate, caring yet honest in all things.”

Another read: “It was clear during the meeting that Claire was extremely remorseful and reflective about that period in her life. She very much wanted to put things right and be the best she could."

Someone else said: "If I was to describe Claire I would say – Claire is honest, kind, caring, selfless, always willing to help you out, an amazing mother, partner, friend and will always put other people before herself.”

SEE ALSO: The Nightingale pub wins Hampshire Chronicle’s Pub of the Year

Ms Bailey, of Micheldever Station, shared the 'shame, guilt and regret' she felt following her conviction, and the panel decided the publication of its findings was 'sufficient' to send an appropriate message to the teacher, adding that a ban would not be proportionate or within the public interest.

Message from the editor

Thank you for reading this story. We really appreciate your support.

Please help us to continue bringing you all the trusted news from your area by sharing this story or by following our Facebook page.