A TEACHER who brought booze into a primary school has been banned from the classroom.

Karen Clark is prohibited from teaching after turning to alcohol to cope with the pressures of the job.

A disciplinary panel ruled the 35-year-old's behaviour amounted to "unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute".

The Teaching Regulation Agency Panel heard that the teacher who had worked at St Hilda's CE Primary School in Prestwich and Pikes Lane Primary in Bolton brought a can of coke believed to contain alcohol into school and placed a wine bottle in a classroom cupboard with the likelihood of drinking it.

Ms Clark worked at St Hilda's CE from August 30 2016 to September 22 2016 after being taken on from an agency.

She failed to mention that she had worked there and why she left when applying for the position at Pikes Lane Primary School, where she started work in October of that year.

Ms Clark was sent home from Pikes Lame Primary in November pending an investigation and resigned in January last year.

The panel heard that the teacher drank alcohol to deal with symptoms of anxiety, low mood and insomnia — and that she had received support from both schools.

Taking into consideration her circumstances, the panel ruled she is able to apply for the ban to be reviewed in 2020, giving her time to deal with her issues as before the incident at St Hilda's CE Primary she was said to have the ability to be a competent teacher and had been held in high regard.

Incidents investigated by the panel included Ms Clark turning up to late to school on September 13 and carrying a can of coke with her breath smelling of "fresh alcohol" and that the can “smelled strongly of alcohol similar to brandy”.

Despite Ms Clark’s denial, the panel found that "on the balance of probabilities" the can of coke contained alcohol with the logical explanation being to drink it.

The panel stated: "The panel also took into account that this was one of a number of occasions when members of staff at St Hilda's and, subsequently, Pikes Lane Primary School, had smelled alcohol on Ms Clark's breath when she was teaching at those schools."

Later that month, on September 22 Ms Clark said she drunk “two sips” of wine —which she said was in her car following a visit to a friend’s house the night before — during lunchtime to calm her nerves because of panic attacks. The bottle was placed in a cupboard, where it was discovered by a member of staff.

It was after that occasion she left St Hilda's CE Primary.

Ms Clark was also found sleeping in her car.

The ruling stated: "The panel found that Ms Clark did go to sleep in her car during lunchtime on 6 September 2016 because of her consuming alcohol. The panel noted that Ms Clark had accepted that she had started to drink alcohol in order to alleviate her symptoms of anxiety, low mood and insomnia. This started in August 2016 and she described her use of alcohol as, "self-medication" in order to help her sleep. She confirmed that she would drink in the evenings and would then drink some alcohol if she woke up during the night in order to try and calm herself down and go back to sleep.”

The teacher had worked in London before returning to live in Bolton for “personal reasons”.

Ms Clark was said to be addressing her underlying mental issues.

In its ruling the panel stated: “The panel’s findings against Ms Clark involved not only the consumption of alcohol which affected her performance at school over a period of months, but also a deliberate course of conduct to mislead a school which went on to employ her. There was a strong public interest consideration in respect of the protection of pupils given the serious findings not only in respect of the risk posed to the safeguarding of children but also the abuse of trust in acting without integrity.”

It added: "The pressures of working in a travel agency were entirely different to those presented in a classroom, and it was when working in the classroom in 2016 that Ms Clark succumbed to that pressure and sought to cope with it by consuming alcohol.

"Nevertheless, the panel also determined that her consumption of alcohol was a symptom of her underlying condition and that she was capable of controlling her consumption as long as she was able to develop strategies enabling her to cope with her underlying issues."