A woman who was sacked from her job as a teaching assistant claimed today that she was given the boot because she is a witch.

Sommer De La Rosa, 35, told an employment tribunal that she had been unfairly dismissed from her job after school chiefs raised fears that she would indoctrinate students with her pagan religion.

The white witch, who wears a pentagram round her neck, claimed she was sacked from her job at the Dorothy Stringer secondary school in Brighton last May because she practices the pagan religion Wicca.

On the first day of the four-day tribunal in Brighton today she said: "I was shunned by other teachers because of my faith."

The school and Brighton and Hove City Council say they gave her the boot for prolonged absences and for making inappropriate disclosures to other students and say that it was nothing to do with her religion.

The tribunal continues.