Banned: Teacher had sex with ex-student on school trip

A teacher who had sex with teenager shortly after she left school has been banned from the profession for five years

Banned

A teacher has been banned from the profession for having sex with a former student, shortly after she left school, on a school-organised trip.

Paul Stuart-Turner, who taught at Saffron Walden County High School, was found by a panel of the Teaching Regulation Agency to have had sex with a former student in July 2005 when she had only recently left the school.

The panel considered that Mr Stuart-Turner slept with the former student "inside the education setting" as the "expedition was considered a school trip and arranged by the school".

It did not consider whether the teacher's actions breached current teaching standards.

However, it took the "prevailing culture of that era" into account, noting that the student left the school in June 2005 but returned during the summer holidays to collect her results.

The panel said that Mr Stuart-Turner sleeping with the former student during July of that summer "amounted to a breach of the teaching standards at the time".

Teacher had sex with former student

However, the panel did not find other allegations against Mr Stuart-Turner proven.

The former student alleged that while she was at school he had kissed her or rubbed himself against her, but the panel found inconsistencies between her accounts to the police, her written witness statement and live evidence. 

The allegations of Mr Stuart-Turner's sexual misconduct surfaced when the former student said in 2016 that she had been abused by him, and the school then subsequently dismissed him in 2018.  The police investigated but took no further action.  

Mr Stuart-Turner had taught at the school from 1996 to 2018 and taught the student from 2003-05. In 2005, they began a relationship that lasted until October 2008.

Mr Stuart-Turner admitted sexual intercourse with the former student on 27 July 2005 but denied the allegations of kissing and rubbing in school.

The panel found both the student and Mr Stuart-Turner to be credible witnesses when giving live evidence, but noted “numerous inconsistencies” in the student's evidence.

The panel did not consider that current pupils were likely to be harmed by Mr Stuart-Turner's behaviour, noting that 15 years had passed since the event and that the student had left school when the incident occurred.

The panel also saw a risk assessment conducted by the school in April 2017, stating there was "no clear risk of reoccurrence of the misconduct”. Mr Stuart-Turner also acknowledged how his proven actions had been inappropriate and was able to explain how his behaviour would change were he allowed to return to teaching.

The panel also found there was a strong public interest in retaining Mr Stuart-Turner as a teacher.

His former headteacher described him as an “excellent teacher” with “excellent exam results”, and a former colleague said: “His ability to get the best from his students through encouragement and taking the time to listen to them led to trusting, professional student-teacher relationships."

However, the panel found that not imposing a ban would be inappropriate, given the findings of sexual misconduct against Mr Stuart-Turner. It found that he had shown insight and regret over his actions, including the impact these may have had in causing harm to the student, but that this insight had developed "relatively recently".

The panel recommended a ban from teaching with provision for a review period of two years.

However,  Alan Meyrick, acting for the secretary of state, extended this to five years.

He said: “A five-year review period is required to satisfy the maintenance of public confidence in the profession.

“This behaviour happened on an educational trip shortly after the pupil had left school. The reasons for a longer review period are because of the educational setting, the proximity to the pupil leaving school, the sexual misconduct found, the panel’s view that the insight was relatively recent and the clear acknowledgement by Mr Stuart-Turner of the harm caused.”
 

 

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