A misconduct panel is currently hearing the case of a teaching assistant who went for a holiday in Italy with her boyfriend, while on compassionate leave.

Ella Griffith, 25, asked for two and a half days to deal with a “serious personal matter at home”. 

The headteacher of the Anglesey primary school, Rhian Grieve, told the tribunal she found out about the holiday by other members of staff. 

They had seen pictures on Facebook from Ms Griffith’s boyfriend. He put updates of them posing in front of Rome’s famous Trevi Fountain and other tourist sites.

The Education Workforce Council heard Miss Griffith was employed as a learning support assistant and worked thirty hours a week.

It also heard that Miss Griffith had requested time off days after schools returned in September last year. It came after a long closure, due to the first lockdown. 

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

She told the tribunal that when Miss Griffith was confronted about her absence, she lied at first. She said she had flown to Italy over the weekend.

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

The panel heard she then did not go into school for the next two days and let her boss know by text rather than calling. 

Kate Palmer is an HR Advice & Consultancy Director at Peninsular. She called this a “serious misuse” of the compassionate leave policy.

She said: “Abusing the policy in this way, creating distrust in the employment relationship and perhaps leading others to be treated with suspicion when genuinely needing to take essential time out to deal with personal matters, is a breach of trust.” 

And added: “it is unsurprising misconduct proceedings for unprofessional conduct are taking place.” 

Griffith was not at the hearing, where she is accused of five misconduct allegations relating to her time away and the subsequent days after.

She has since left the school, but if found guilty might never be able to work at a school again.

The online hearing continues.