The General Teaching Council for Wales is conducting a professional hearing for a teacher who reportedly administered demeaning punishments to autistic children for “misbehaving” and to “show them who is in control”. Glenda Lynette Partridge was a supervisor at the special needs unit at Llanelli’s Pwll School.
Mrs. Partidge was responsible for six children, all aged around 9, who are severely autistic and largely unable to speak fully. A nursery nurse at the school reported that Mrs. Partridge used several punishments, including withholding food at lunchtime and forcing children to run at distressingly high speeds on a treadmill intended to help children release pent up energy.
Witnesses told the court that the children would “visibly shake and flinch” when Mrs. Partridge shouted their names in class, fearing punishment. Mrs. Partridge defended her punishment style by saying they were part of the Behaviour Modification Therapy training that only she had had. Many of her colleagues reported being too afraid to come forward about her cruel methods.
Mrs. Partridge worked at the primary school for several years before a school investigation led to her being dismissed in 2007. She did not attend the professional hearing, and was instead represented by a representative from the NASUWT teaching union. Her misconduct has been denied, and union official Rex Phillips said that while her techniques could be “considered harsh”, they were used by all staff in the unit. Mrs. Partridge faces being removed from the teaching register for “unacceptable professional conduct”.