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Wrexham teacher: "Helping pupils wrecked my career"

Published date: 28 June 2012 |
Published by: Rebecca Cole
Read more articles by Rebecca Cole


Heather Wolfson 

A TEACHER who says she was suspended for giving a student her phone number and another a lift home believes her career is now over.

Heather Wolfson had been teaching for 35 years and loved her job.

But the 56-year-old, whose most recent position was a fixed-term contract at Ysgol y Grango in Rhos, feels her reputation has been destroyed.

One incident involved Mrs Wolfson giving her phone number to a pupil who was struggling with her grandfather’s illness.

She said: “This poor student was inconsolable and all I did was give her my number and say ‘if you ever have nowhere else to go, call me’. I replied to one text she sent me.

“Another time I took a pupil home after school because he’d stayed late to take part in an extra project. His lift hadn’t arrived and it was dark.

“He said his parents were fine with it and he had no other way of getting home. I had no idea I should have had a permission slip.

“I was just looking out for them both, it was a mother’s instinct.”

Mrs Wolfson, who has two grown up children of her own, claims she was disciplined because her bahaviour was considered inappropriate.

But she says her actions were born out of compassion for those in her care and says a culture of fear has developed in many schools.

“It wasn’t made clear to me what I was and wasn’t allowed to do, maybe because I was on a short term maternity cover contract.

“If they’d told me not to do these things then of course I wouldn’t have done them.

“I love my job and I would never have done anything to jeopardise it.

“And while I agree teachers and children need to be safeguarded the impact often goes against your instinct which is to care for and protect the child.

“Some people might say with so much experience I should’ve known better but when I was training we didn’t have to worry so much about these things.

“If anything it’s people of my generation who need extra guidance and support because there seems to be a state of paranoia in our society now.

“Schools have fallen prey to political correctness and our careers are walking on a tightrope.”

Amanda Harrison, deputy head of Ysgol y Grango, said: “We believe the matters have now been resolved and as it is a personnel matter it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Wrexham Council did not wish to comment.

Colin Adkins, an officer for the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) spoke on behalf of Mrs Wolfson and claimed her situation was not uncommon.

He said: “Schools are too quick to assume allegations are true and some authorities do not seek to achieve what's best for the school or the pupils.

“Teachers are put through the wringer, suspended and gossiped about but recent research into allegations made against teachers suggests 56 per cent are unfounded.

“I’d appeal to councils and schools to use some good common sense on the balance of evidence before jumping to conclusions.

“What Heather was doing was the best for the pupils.

“Teachers won’t want to try anymore and it will result in poorer teaching.”

Mrs Wolfson, of Station Road, Weston Rhyn, near Oswestry, added: “I have taught hundreds of pupils over the years many of whom remember me for who I really am and what I did to help them achieve their position in life.

“I’ve given my life to teaching but now I’ve been rendered unemployable.”

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  1. Posted by: daisymay at 09:57 on 28 June 2012 Report

    Again, political correctness gone mad. I would have considered her a poor human being, not just a teacher, if she had left a pupil alone on a dark evening. Surely after 35 years in teaching any inappropriate actions by this teacher would have been noticed before. Acts of kindness should be commended not vilified.

  2. Posted by: Roland Cleth at 10:28 on 28 June 2012 Report

    I'm not sure if it's a case of "political correctness" - it's more a question of teachers making sure they don't put themselves in a position whereby malicious allegations can be levelled against them.

  3. Posted by: Welsh Witch at 11:01 on 28 June 2012 Report

    It is a shame that the world we now live in means that all human kindness is viewed with suspicion. When I was in school, I had a lift home from members of staff - it was common practice and parents were grateful that their children were safely taken care of.

  4. Posted by: lindopski at 11:03 on 28 June 2012 Report

    a culture of fear and blame nurtured by the morons who infest the UK in 2012. 30 years ago people had more sense, there is a big difference from child abuse and caring about your fellow man.someone needs to take this by the reigns and bring back in some common sense to this nation of morons,

  5. Posted by: alidyl73 at 11:45 on 28 June 2012 Report

    No wonder we are turning into a callous uncaring society. This lady was helping the pupils in her care and through her kindness her life has been turned into a nightmare. PC gone mad.

  6. Posted by: StephenDavies at 12:23 on 28 June 2012 Report

    Mrs Wolfson has been reckless. There are two sides to this story. Not all the parents were happy with the interest Mrs Wolfson showed in their children. The article does not have a single positive comment from a parent. Who does Mrs Wolfson think complained? Mrs Wolfson has rendered herself unemployable by going to the press. This sort of incident only stays on a professional record for 12 months. Mrs Wolfson has guaranteed that it will be permanently remembered by everyone. Very foolish.

  7. Posted by: smurfy at 15:34 on 28 June 2012 Report

    I was taught by Heather from 1996-2001, she was the most kindest and caring teacher. Im sure almost all of my year group would agree. She helped me get through so much, I have the uppermost respect for her, the world has gone mad if this how you are treated for an act of kindeness! Shocking !

  8. Posted by: smurfy at 15:37 on 28 June 2012 Report

    I was taught by Heather from 1996-2001, she was the most kindest and caring teacher. Im sure almost all of my year group would agree. She helped me get through so much, I have the uppermost respect for her, the world has gone mad if this how you are treated for an act of kindeness! Shocking !

  9. Posted by: susieq27 at 18:05 on 28 June 2012 Report

    I was taught by Heather from 96-01 at Dinas Bran, she is the most kindest caring teacher I have ever come across. She always made time for her pupils no matter how hectic her day was and I know from experience that sometimes this went above and beyond what was 'expected' of her as a teacher. She wasn't just an amazing teacher who excelled at her job but she genuinely cared about the well-being of her pupils. cont...

  10. Posted by: susieq27 at 18:11 on 28 June 2012 Report

    cont... She was our head of year and I can safely say that she is still deemed to be a legend and is continually praised and talked about by us all. I know several of her pupils who regularly used to visit the school just to keep her updated on how we were and us her! I'm disgusted that she's been reprimanded for caring TOO much for her students...cont

  11. Posted by: susieq27 at 18:11 on 28 June 2012 Report

    cont... when you think of what actually goes on in our world and how difficult life is, I know I'd be grateful if my daughter was lucky enough to have a teacher half as wonderful as Heather to look out for them. There are a number of pupils from Dinas Bran who are actively seeking to have the Leader print our comments about her if for nothing else than to bring Heather comfort and know that everyone she taught thought so highly of her.

  12. Posted by: Kelart09 at 18:25 on 28 June 2012 Report

    I was tought by heather in 2006-2007, One of the best teachers you could hope to meet, heather did nothing wrong, hold your head up high and do not let them get you down, I only hope that one day my children has a great teacher like you xx

  13. Posted by: blondie at 19:31 on 28 June 2012 Report

    I was a pupil at Dinas bran from 93-98 Heather was my teacher there and she was a fantastic lady who actually cared for the pupils she taught, she not only helped us to do our best in class she also had an understanding caring and non-judgemental ear available to listen to us and would do her best to give good advice. Keep your chin up Heather i know from personnal experience that you are a wonderful teacher its just a shame we live in a crazy, stupid and untrusting world!!!

  14. Posted by: griffiths245 at 20:41 on 28 June 2012 Report

    I was also taught by Heather whilst I was at Dinas Bran between '97 and '04. It's a shame to hear of this as she is such a caring and considerate teacher whilst still being able to control a class and earn the respect of her pupils. I have seen the same thing of a former primary school teacher too. Teachers these days have to deal with a lot of unruly children and don't get the recognition they deserve.

  15. Posted by: Mjones0110 at 21:23 on 28 June 2012 Report

    Cont… However, I was a former pupil of Grango & this wouldn't surprise me. It seems they haven't changed their behavior in all these years. I just hope that the comments from former pupils will not only give Heather some comfort but make the school realize how valuable, caring & dedicated to her job she still is after all these years! Most teachers would have thrown the towel in a long time ago.

  16. Posted by: Mjones0110 at 21:24 on 28 June 2012 Report

    Is this for real! Heather was my Head of Year from 98-01 & if it hadn't of been for her, I would have left the school before my GCSE's. The abuse I received from kids at Dinas Bran was shocking, but she stood by me & helped me through some dark days! Teachers like her are hard to come by & I find it sickening& disgusting that after dedicating 35 years of her life to teaching this is how she is repaid! Cont...

  17. Posted by: Anthony_tibbetts at 22:52 on 28 June 2012 Report

    I have always had great respect for Heather, as one of the finest teachers that I have ever had. She was the person who awoke the sleeping writer inside of me, a creative voice that resides inside of everyone to enable them to create and to show great emotions in their use of language. Whether it be on paper or any other means like performing a play on stage. I Mr Anthony Tibbetts, would personally like to thank Heather for every thing she has done,also I wish her the very best for the future.

  18. Posted by: Y FFin at 22:54 on 28 June 2012 Report

    The comments by former pupils prove that while being a teacher was Heather Wolfson's vocation, she's not cut out to survive in the Kafkaesque world of state education in 21st century. If only headteachers were equally decisive when it came to improving standards!!

  19. Posted by: AndrewDavies at 23:18 on 28 June 2012 Report

    The standard of English in the comments of many of Mrs Wolfson's former pupils is a damning criticism of her abilities as a teacher.

  20. Posted by: Fjones at 23:51 on 28 June 2012 Report

    Not all students possess the ability to achieve an A* Mr Davies!

  21. Posted by: oh dear at 07:13 on 29 June 2012 Report

    good to see her former pupils come out in support of her,some very nice comment,apart from the fool a davies

  22. Posted by: Welsh Witch at 08:06 on 29 June 2012 Report

    I do not believe that any of her former students state that they were taught English by Mrs Wolfson - I think you will find in today's educational curriculum that grammer is corrected in an English class only - perhaps these former students were taught other subjects by Mrs Wolfson - indeed many state that she was their head of year - clearly grammer would not be taught by their head of year

  23. Posted by: hayleywills at 13:38 on 29 June 2012 Report

    I was taught by Heather between 1994 and 1999, she was one of the most caring teachers at Dinas Bran, if you ever had a problem then you knew that you could talk to her and she would try and resolve the situation in the best way. With regards to her taking a pupil home - if she had left the pupil behind and something serious had happened she would be at fault for not helping - the poor lady cannot do right for doing wrong.

  24. Posted by: jones254 at 16:43 on 30 June 2012 Report

    I would like to say as an ex pupil of Heather that I find it very dad that an excellent teacher who guides and mentors pupils should be treated in this awful fashion. It is over 20 years since I had the privilege of being taught by her and she inspired me and has a genuine skill for teaching its called caring and supporting students.Political correctness gone mad and a crying shame that a generation of school children will never have the respect and admiration for a teacher like Heather.

  25. Posted by: Meg3473 at 19:55 on 30 June 2012 Report

    Having been taught by Heather at Ysgol Dinas Bran84-89 i can only imagine what she has done is out of the goodness of her heart .When ever i see Heather she makes time for conversation, i still have respect for a teacher who helped others who needed it.Political correctness gone mad!!

  26. Posted by: if-you-ask-me at 01:14 on 01 July 2012 Report

    what on earth are they trying to do to this woman. How ridiculous is it that a teacher of 35 years and mother of 2 grown up children has been suspended from her job. So what exactly are they trying to say her intentions were??. Its pathetic. I woldnt worry too much if i was her though , she is better off out of it, schools arent what they were and that school hasnt a good reputation.

  27. Posted by: if-you-ask-me at 01:27 on 01 July 2012 Report

    STEPHEN DAVIES..are you blind as well as stupid, if you read the article properly it states that complaints were made by staff not parents .. you numpty

  28. Posted by: baileybob at 12:50 on 01 July 2012 Report

    A message for Mr Steve Davies.If there were complaints by parents why were they not voiced before Mrs Wolfson was suspended. There were no complaints recieved by the school until it was suggested by the school that they should complain.Why were there no complaints recieved on the days leading up to Mrs Wolfson's removal from the school? Get your facts straight.The best informers are internal staff.

  29. Posted by: baileybob at 13:18 on 01 July 2012 Report

    I know Heather as a personal friend, and I know that she has been completely emotionally destroyed by this dreadful end to her career. I personally believe that all the people who know her better than the staff of Ysgol Grango and Wrexham County Council should get together to petition for her reinstatement to the Education system if only to allow her to finish her career in the graceful way she deserves.

  30. Posted by: Austin at 15:43 on 01 July 2012 Report

    Heather was my Head of Year during my time at Dinas Bran. She is one of finest teachers and mentor that I had the privilage to know. She treated her pupils with the upmost respect and compassion.

  31. Posted by: Mumone at 20:18 on 01 July 2012 Report

    Giving you phone number to a distressed pupil and offering a lift home on a dark night is caring gesture. What would have been the alternatives in dealing with these situations? Leave the child to walk home in the dark and leave a distressed child with no support. Why is Mrs Wolfson being criticised?? Sorry but i feel the teaching proffession need more people with her intergrity.

  32. Posted by: ljwills at 10:00 on 02 July 2012 Report

    I am saddened by today's society. The world we grew up in has disappeared and all that is left is suspicion and mistrust.

  33. Posted by: ljwills at 10:04 on 02 July 2012 Report

    I am saddened by today's society. The world we grew up in has disappeared and all that is left is suspicion and mistrust.

  34. Posted by: ljwills at 10:06 on 02 July 2012 Report

    Ysgol y grango and the parents in question are just as much to blame. the school should have made the rules and regulations more clear to mrs wolfson and the parents should be paying more attention to their children not leaving them to find their own way home from an after school event and paying more attention to their feelings. And for A Davies Mrs Wolfson did not teach us English; it was textiles

  35. Posted by: Bytheway at 10:50 on 02 July 2012 Report

    What a disgrace that this teacher has had to suffer for caring for children..Imagine if the child had been left at the school and something had happened to them? The parents should be grateful .. Pity the weren't more teachers who cared for children in this way..

  36. Posted by: Guest at 12:35 on 02 July 2012 Report

    Im afraid if the lady has had so many years teaching experience she would know her actions are wrong, safegauards are there to protect pupils and teachers from allegations of wrongdoing. Why not phone the parents to collect the child? Why not talk to head of pastoral care about counselling for other pupil, and WHY go to the papers?

  37. Posted by: el_dandy at 21:33 on 02 July 2012 Report

    Some people have short memories. Is this the same Heather Wolfson who took the headteacher of Dinas Bran to tribunal after she lost her job there? Schools get rid of her for valid reasons and then she cries wolf.

  38. Posted by: el_dandy at 21:34 on 02 July 2012 Report

    Some people have short memories. Is this the same Heather Wolfson who took the headteacher of Dinas Bran to tribunal after she lost her job there? Schools get rid of her for valid reasons and then she cries wolf.

  39. Posted by: el_dandy at 21:39 on 02 July 2012 Report

    Cont - What this article neglects to mention is that Wolfson was covering for a member of staff on maternity leave, so she was never going to get a permanent deal. And my understanding is it was a lot more than two incidents. Wolfson is being very selective with this story.

  40. Posted by: el_dandy at 21:46 on 02 July 2012 Report

    Cont - What this article neglects to mention is that Wolfson was covering for a member of staff on maternity leave, so she was never going to get a permanent deal. And my understanding is it was a lot more than two incidents. Wolfson is being very selective with this story.

  41. Posted by: worldsgonemad at 22:50 on 02 July 2012 Report

    @ el_dandy As Mrs Wolfson isn`t in a position to defend herself from your unsubstantiated further slur on her character, maybe you could enlighten us as to where your supposed facts come from?

  42. Posted by: if-you-ask-me at 23:15 on 02 July 2012 Report

    EL_DANDY. please get your facts correct before you post them. Dinas Bran didnt get rid of her as far as i remember. she resigned for reasons that she felt she had to. and just because she was covering maternity it doesnt mean she wouldnt have a pemanent possition, the teacher on maternity may not have wanted to return . Oh and get rid of that stammer stammer,, you seem to be saying things twice. seem to be saying things twice.

  43. Posted by: thunderous at 12:55 on 03 July 2012 Report

    EL DANDY you have just made yourself look rather silly to people who know the background on both stories. Firstly Dinas bran did not 'get rid' of Mrs wolfson as you so intelligently put, she resigned. If you care to read comments regarding the tribunal from not only past but also current teachers at Dinas bran it makes for a very interesting read!

  44. Posted by: thunderous at 12:57 on 03 July 2012 Report

    EL DANDY ... Secondly, why would Mrs wolfson be 'selective' in her story. She has nothing to hide as she has done absolutely nothing wrong! So please in future just try and get your facts correct before posting comments about a person you do not know.

  45. Posted by: thunderous at 22:58 on 03 July 2012 Report

    EL DANDY ... Somehow it sounds to me that your bitter about something or other, maybe you have certain contacts in certain positions that do not want things like this to be brought to the attention of the public? If Mrs wolfson is a liar then obviously several other ex and CURRENT members of staff are too.

  46. Posted by: thunderous at 23:15 on 03 July 2012 Report

    Cont... If you have any legal knowledge, you will know that tribunals are near impossible to win, as the claimant has only themselves where as the defendant has the whole organisation including the authorities. Who would volunteer to stand up and give evidence against their current employer? So there was only ever going to be one winner.

  47. Posted by: thunderous at 23:27 on 03 July 2012 Report

    Cont... Correct me if im wrong but in your previous comment, did you not lie about the fact Mrs wolfson had and i quote been 'got rid of'? So does this make you the liar? I am also struggling to comprehend why you insist on bringing the name of Dinas bran into this? Obviously your concerns are with that school.

  48. Posted by: thunderous at 23:28 on 03 July 2012 Report

    Cont... Finally it seems ludicrous to think that this teacher with 35 years experience and with such high regards from past pupils as can be seen from all the outstanding comments above has had to be put through this. Its a disgrace to the Welsh educational system. I think you should think before you comment again, as the false things you seem intent on saying about Mrs wolfson could make you a 'proven liar'

  49. Posted by: nomadic-angel at 23:32 on 03 July 2012 Report

    EL-DANDY. why are you harping on about another school. this has nothing to do with dinis branschool.

  50. Posted by: worldsgonemad at 18:09 on 04 July 2012 Report

    As Ysgol Y Grango & WCBC have basically taken the fifth ammendment here, the only facts so far in this debate appear to be comments made by former pupils of Mrs Wolfson. These to me show Mrs Wolfson`s character to be beyond reproach. As for el_dandy`s outlandish slanderous allegations, maybe it should be that person in the dock for defamation of character?

  51. Posted by: worldsgonemad at 20:12 on 05 July 2012 Report

    @ stephanie...Thanks for the order but I`ll give it a rest when I`am finishd debating. As for your bored vivid imagination, don`t click on the story! Simple as...

  52. Posted by: worldsgonemad at 20:33 on 05 July 2012 Report

    @ el_dandy...Interesting article that albeit a separate issue. I must have missed the bit where Mrs Wolfson was found guilty of perjury? Or maybe it wasn`t there. This struck a chord however >>> Presiding over the case, Judge R Harper said there was no doubt Mrs Wolfson was an “excellent teacher” who had an “excellent rapport with her pupils”.

  53. Posted by: stephanie at 22:50 on 05 July 2012 Report

    worlds gone mad.... I click on it now coz i know your gonna be on ere arguing. How do you know so much about it anyway????

  54. Posted by: weirfamily at 15:42 on 06 July 2012 Report

    Heather taught me at Dinas bran in the 80's she was the best teacher there by far, then she was my sons head of year for 4 yrs he would also rate her to be the best teacher too, shame my daughter didn't have the privilege of having you as her teacher. Chin up Heather don't ever change from the caring person you are, best wishes x

  55. Posted by: Fox2672 at 23:25 on 07 July 2012 Report

    OUTRAGEOUS!! If it wasn't for Heather, I wouldnt have got the grades that I got, not once did she ever give up on me. I remember the day before her wedding, she still made time to check my coursework. She was not suspended from dinas bran!! I have a feeling she left because of the same reason myself, and many others did! This is just so upsetting. Best of luck in the future, Heather. I owe a lot to you! Dont ever change!

  56. Posted by: Fox2672 at 23:25 on 07 July 2012 Report

    OUTRAGEOUS!! If it wasn't for Heather, I wouldnt have got the grades that I got, not once did she ever give up on me. I remember the day before her wedding, she still made time to check my coursework. She was not suspended from dinas bran!! I have a feeling she left because of the same reason myself, and many others did! This is just so upsetting. Best of luck in the future, Heather. I owe a lot to you! Dont ever change!

  57. Posted by: stephanie at 15:54 on 08 July 2012 Report

    FOX....just wondering , what job did you do to leave dinas bran. You havent been left school very long.. uhum

  58. Posted by: bluebell at 18:36 on 08 July 2012 Report

    EL Dandy-Don't make inaccurate assumptions without knowing the true facts.The truth is that Mrs Wolfson resigned from Dinas Bran and nothing was proven in the courts because the only person that knows the exact truth is Mrs Wolfson herself. Judges are there to do a job.Unfortunately due to the climate in teaching today where all teachers are pressured to watch their backs there were no teachers who could stand up in court to tell the truth. Hence the decision went in Mrs Duffy's favour

  59. Posted by: bluebell at 18:52 on 08 July 2012 Report

    As for your comments about the situation at Grango school.You seem intent on describing Mrs Wolfson as some sort of criminal.Her name os not 'Wolfson' , it is Mrs Wolfson.I am also aware of the allegations that the school tried to pin on her but they were all unproven.

  60. Posted by: bluebell at 18:59 on 08 July 2012 Report

    Why is it that caring people who offer innocent support to people they care for are automatically looked at suspiciously and labelled as a potential sex fiend or groomer of childrenIf I was Mrs Wolfson, I would never let this disgraceful situation go and take it to the highest authority.

  61. Posted by: Olwen-Mair at 23:33 on 16 October 2012 Report

    Didn't you marry a father of a pupil from an old school? You were my head of year, you were nice, but when I was in need & being serverely bullied, you were useless, resulting in me needing to change schools!!! Mrs Raine, another useless human being, all you care about is yourselves, glad to see karma has come to serve its justice!!!

 

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