Teaching assistant ‘who lied’ so she could go to Rome ‘caught by Facebook pics’

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A teaching assistant lied about needing time off so she could go on a romantic getaway but was exposed by colleagues who saw her holiday snaps, a misconduct panel has heard.

Ella Griffith, 25, is accused of faking "compassionate leave" from her school in Wales, so she could go to Rome with her boyfriend.

The hearing heard that the assistant had told her boss she had a "serious personal matter at home" – but was then spotted visiting tourist sights instead of attending work.

The panel was also told how the 25-year-old had pleaded with her headteacher to give her two and a half days off, which she used to visit the Colosseum, Vatican City and the Forum with her partner.

In a series of snaps, the primary school teacher was seen eating pasta, drinking cocktails and relaxing in a hot tub while her school picked up the strain from her being off.

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

Her headteacher Rhian Grieve said: "She spoke with me on September 17, 2020, and asked to leave early the following day and return on September 23.

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

Ms Grieve 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, riding on e-scooters through the city and various sightseeing snaps.

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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, the Education Workforce Council heard.

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 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.

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

She has not entered any pleas to the allegations and is not present.

If found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct she faces being struck from the teaching register.

The hearing continues.

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