A primary school teacher who was dismissed after being accused of handling students roughly has been re-employed by order of the WA Industrial Relations Commission.

The Education Department claimed that the 52-year-old, who had been teaching for 25 years, posed "an unacceptable risk to children" and showed "a propensity to the use of force".

Acting senior commissioner Pamela Scott found that was "harsh and unfair" and the teacher had been denied procedural fairness.

She said a briefing note from a senior investigator which contained "errors and exaggerations" had influenced Education Department director-general Sharyn O'Neill's decision to dismiss the teacher.

The teacher, who was working at a school in the Rockingham area, was sacked in March last year after he was found to have committed a breach of discipline in 2011.

The department alleged the teacher forcibly removed a child's hands from his pockets and shoved him off a basketball court, causing him to stumble but not fall.

That finding came after a separate investigation in 2010 resulted in the teacher being fined two days pay for lifting a student by the upper arms and carrying him across a classroom, causing red welts and making him cry.

He was also reprimanded for two minor breaches in 2010.

The teacher argued he had been unable to respond to prejudicial and incorrect assertions in briefing notes because they were not provided to him and that there were not sufficient grounds to justify dismissal.

Ms Scott said even though the evidence indicated the teacher did push a student, it was not forceful enough to make him lose his footing.

"That is a matter requiring some response by his employer, but it is hardly sufficient to justify dismissal, either of itself or taken with the previous breaches of discipline," she said.

The Education Department said the teacher was re-employed at a different school after the commission ordered it to overturn its termination decision.

State School Teachers Union president Anne Gisborne said it was stressful for teachers to go through months-long investigations that could damage their reputation and sap their confidence.

'It is hardly sufficient to justify dismissal.'" WAIRC acting senior commissioner *Pamela Scott *

The West Australian

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