A teaching assistant was spotted enjoying a romantic break in Rome with her boyfriend when she was supposed to be on “compassionate leave”, a misconduct panel has heard.
Ella Griffith, 25, was pictured posing at the Colosseum, Vatican City and the Roman Forum on the trip, instead of being in class.
Griffith told staff she needed two and half days off from her primary school in Holyhead, Anglesey, because she had a "serious personal matter at home" – but was then seen eating pasta, drinking cocktails and relaxing in a hot tub in pictures posted on Facebook.
A misconduct panel heard how she used the long weekend to fly to Italy with her boyfriend who later posted their holiday pictures online.
The Education Workforce Council heard Griffith was employed as a learning support assistant working 30 hours weeks at Ysgol Cybi school in Holyhead, Anglesey.
Headteacher Rhian Grieve said Griffith asked for some time off just days after schools returned in September last year following closures due to the pandemic.
Grieve said: "She spoke with me on 17 September 2020, and asked to leave early the following day and return on 23 September.
"The situation appeared critical in that Ella Griffith's family needed her and she requested compassionate leave."
The headteacher said she was alerted by other staff members that 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.
She said that when Griffith was confronted about her absence upon returning she initially lied saying she had flown to Italy over the weekend.
Grieve said 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 rather than phoning.
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, held via Zoom, continues.
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