Secret iPad recording reveals gross misconduct towards children with special needs

Screenshot from Apple's What's a computer? iPad ad
(Image credit: Apple)

An audio recording on a student's iPad revealing staff misconduct to pupils at a school has led to the sacking of four staff.

Market Field School, in Essex, United Kingdom, has come under scrutiny after a child with autism accidentally recorded their full school day, only for their mother to find the recording when they returned home.

After finding the recording, the child's mother alerted the school. As reported by the Essex Daily Gazette, head teacher Ruth Whitehead apologized to parents in a letter, "What happened falls well below the high expectations we have for staff conduct and the values we stand for as a school."

"On behalf of Market Field School, I am so very sorry this happened."

The recording started on a taxi journey into school and captured the full day of the classroom, which the BBC reports has "six pupils aged between seven and 11 with complex autism."

The contents of the recording have not been revealed, although Whitehead says there was "gross misconduct." Following the school's internal investigation, four members of staff "lost their jobs" and were referred to the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Whitehead added she was "confident that what happened was an isolated incident, confined to one room."

She added, "(I can't) articulate fully the absolute devastation, shock and disbelief" at what had happened.

"The safety, well-being and happiness of your children is my highest priority and I know this to be a sentiment shared by the whole school team."

iPad for education

The iPad has been marketed as a product for education for years, and that means more children than ever have access to tablets with functions like cameras, audio recording, and the internet. This accidental recording has helped the children of Market Field School by unknowingly revealing secrets from the classroom.

While the details of what happened are under wraps, the iPad ultimately came to the rescue despite the accidental recording. 

John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself. Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings. John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019.  John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.