A music teacher who had a sexual relationship with a student who played in a youth band he conducted has been banned permanently from the profession.
Peter Gittins, now aged 74, was employed at Hereford Sixth Form College as head of brass between 1 September 2012 and 31 December 2014, and again from 20 August 2016 to 25 June 2019, teaching one-to-one lessons to students who played brass instruments.
However, between 2004 and 2010, when the incidents took place, Mr Gittins worked as a peripatetic tutor at a number of primary and secondary schools within the local music service area, as well as conducting a youth concert band.
Mr Gittins admitted that he failed to maintain appropriate boundaries with two students who attended the sixth-form college but who he did not teach there.
He also admitted that he engaged in an inappropriate relationship with one of the students and that his conduct was in pursuit of sexual gratification and a sexual relationship.
Teacher texted and had sex with student
One of the students was a member of the youth concert band that Mr Gittins conducted, and attended the college between 2005 and 2006.
The Teaching Regulation Agency panel examining the case found a number of allegations against Mr Gittins proven, on the basis of Mr Gittins' admission and the student's statement.
It was found that Mr Gittins had texted, called and hugged her, met her after school and driven her in his car, and that he had engaged in oral sex and sexual intercourse with her.
It also found that he had given her a sex toy called "Midnight Massager".
In regards to the second student, it was found that the teacher had engaged in an inappropriate relationship, involving texts or calls, and hugs. The student had also attended Hereford Sixth Form College, though was not taught by him there. The detail on how they knew each other is redacted from the report.
The panel report notes: “Although the conduct complained of took place outside of a school setting where the interactions might be less formal, the panel nonetheless took the view that Mr Gittins was in a teaching role and therefore subject to the relevant standards and expectations for the profession.
“The panel considered that Mr Gittins was in a position of trust and had a duty of care towards [both students].”
It adds that Mr Gittins was a very experienced teacher with a 40-year career, and should have been aware of the conduct that was expected of him.
In recommending a permanent ban, the panel added that it was unconvinced by Mr Gittins’ remorse and was of the view that he had not shown real insight into his behaviour and the harm it had caused to the students.
The report adds: “The panel noted the comment that Mr Gittins had not had specific safeguarding training at the time and that there was a lack of guidance and support in relation to policies. The panel took note of the submissions made as to Mr Gittins’ mental health in the period prior to the incidents.
"However, the panel did not find these points convincing when weighed against the seriousness of the conduct found proven.”