Paragraph 22 reads: “The inquest heard the teacher had
attempted suicide in 2000 and complained of work-related stress in November
2006, before seeing her GP for depression in early 2007. She then began taking anti-depressants.”
Young teacher, 26, hanged herself after being accused of helping pupils
cheat in GCSEs
Last updated at 8:31 PM on 27th November 2009
A teacher suspended over claims she helped pupils cheat in their GCSE exams hanged
herself – only to be exonerated after her death.
Vanessa Rann was
distraught after being accused of giving children unfair help during their
French oral examination.
She was sent home on full pay while an
investigation into the allegations was carried out, with pupils facing the
prospect of having their final grades changed.
Investigation: Miss Rann
worked at Grange School and Sports College, Warmley
But days later, the
French-born trainee teacher‘s body was found by her fiance at the home they
shared. She was 26.
Yesterday an inquest into her death revealed the
investigation went on to clear her of any wrongdoing.
Only in her first
year of teaching, Miss Rann was apparently already a much-loved member of staff
at Grange School and Sports College in Warmley, Bristol.
But she was
struggling with the stress of her job and believed her head of department,
Francesca Alcock, was trying to ‘force her out’, the hearing was told.
In May 2007, she was accused of giving unfair help to students taking
their GCSE French oral and suspended.
In a statement read to Flax
Bourton Coroner’s Court, headteacher Steve Cook said she was also being
investigated for inviting Year 11 pupils to an end-of-term party at her house as
well as accusing Miss Alcock of ‘trying to get her sacked’.
She met her
union representative, Paul Hutchins, who told the hearing she was ‘distressed’
by the allegations but had told him she ‘hadn’t done anything wrong’.
added: ‘We talked about whether she wanted to continue teaching and she said she
loved it, had a good relationship with the children and had made friends at the
‘She said she found her position at the school challenging. She
wanted to continue, but possibly at a different school.’
said Miss Rann was also under pressure because she had failed a teaching
But he said: ‘At the time she gave me no cause for concern.
She had a tremendous support network by her.’
Her fiance, Darren Proud,
found her body in their garage in Fishponds, Bristol, on the morning of June 3,
Exam board Edexcel later ruled pupils had not unfairly benefited
during the exams and there was no need to adjust the final marks.
Proud told the hearing his fiancee had suffered depression before, but that
‘things went wrong’ following her suspension.
He added she had mentioned
hanging herself in the past, prompting him to urge her to seek medical
‘I thought it was just a silly comment and told her she shouldn’t
be thinking about stuff like that,’ he said.
‘I didn’t expect her to do
something like this because she was pretty strong, even though she would be down
sometimes. All day she had been happy, so it came as a shock.’
inquest heard the teacher had attempted suicide in 2000 and complained of
work-related stress in November 2006, before seeing her GP for depression in
early 2007. She then began taking anti-depressants.
Recording a verdict
of suicide, Avon coroner Terence Moore said: ‘She was going through extremely
stressful circumstances and in her view her career wasn’t steady.
did all the right things – she went to see her union rep and went to see her
doctor. Putting all the things together, I’m sure beyond reasonable doubt she
took her own life.’