A teacher who showed “crass stupidity” by making inappropriate comments to Year 6 pupils has been banned from teaching for at least two years.
David Ryan, who taught at John Perryn Primary School in Ealing, West London, was found by a professional conduct panel of the Teaching Regulation Agency to have entered female pupils’ bedrooms while on a residential school trip and – on separate occasions – to have made comments about the appearance of pupils and an 18-year-old aunt of one of the children.
The panel found, however, that his actions and remarks were not sexually motivated. Mr Ryan was prohibited from teaching but with the right to seek a review after two years.
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The panel heard that, while on the trip in Dorset in May 2017, Mr Ryan entered one or more female pupils' bedrooms when pupils were changing, without knocking and without being accompanied by another member of staff.
Mr Ryan said this was to speak to two pupils about misbehaviour, but a supply teacher gave evidence that he had found Mr Ryan in the room and was shocked by his actions as they were contrary to the instructions given.
There were also allegations that Mr Ryan made various inappropriate comments to female pupils between 2015 and 2017, most of which the panel found proven.
These included “You have lovely hair”, “You have a nice figure” and “Your butt is mine”.
The panel found he said, with reference to Pupil B’s aunt: "If I was a few years younger, the things I would do to her” and observed “Good looks run in the family".
It also found that, during 2016-17, he inappropriately played with pupils’ hair, placed his arms around their shoulders and held their hands.
But it rejected an allegation that he told one pupil to “grow a pair” and accepted that he adjusted a pupil’s safety harness while on the trip for reasons of health and safety.
It also dismissed an allegation that Mr Ryan wrongly accessed a pupil’s father’s Facebook page, since the material concerned was in the public domain.
Giving its ruling, the panel said it “did not doubt that Mr Ryan's actions and comments were crass and juvenile".
It added: “There also appeared to be some sexual innuendo in his comments. While there was also a suspicion that Mr Ryan may have derived some gratification from his behaviour, the panel also considered that this did not necessarily amount to a sexual gratification either in an immediate or future sense.”
Panel members accepted that Mr Ryan's conduct “demonstrated crass stupidity as opposed to anything more sinister” and said this was “towards the lower end of the spectrum” and there was no evidence of any lasting harm to pupils.
Its recommendations were upheld by the Department for Education's decision-maker Alan Meyrick.