Banned: Teacher who took drug dealer on school trip

A secondary teacher who unwittingly took a convicted drug dealer on a school trip was also convicted of drink driving

Amy Gibbons

Banned

A secondary teacher who unwittingly invited a convicted Class A drug dealer on a school trip has been banned from the profession for at least three years.

David Hewitt, who was employed by Blessed John Henry Newman RC College in Oldham between 2007 and 2018, was also separately convicted of two drink driving offences, and one for driving while disqualified, according to a report from the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA).

The report stated that, in July 2018, Mr Hewitt was supervising students on a school trip at a local rugby club.

"He was accompanied on this trip by a friend who, unknown to him, had a prior conviction for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs," it said.

"The issue here being that Mr Hewitt did not go through the official channels of seeking permission for a third party to attend so that they could be subjected to appropriate checks."

Teacher 'exposed students to potential risk'

It was alleged that the teacher "took a member of the public, who had been reported in the media to have been involved in the conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, on a trip with students without declaring it to and/or seeking permission from the college".

Mr Hewitt admitted the allegation, which was found proven.

The panel considering Mr Hewitt's case found that "in failing to follow correct procedure in not either declaring or seeking permission for the attendance of a third-party", the secondary teacher "failed to act in the best interests of the students for whom he was responsible".

"The reason why permission is required was so that checks could be carried out to ensure that anyone attending a school trip is suitable to do so," the report stated.

It added: "That this was not done exposed the students to the potential risk of harm. Although Mr Hewitt was unaware of the prior conviction, its existence illustrates the need to be vigilant in ensuring proper checks are carried out before third parties attend school trips."

Mr Hewitt's driving offences were also taken into account by the panel.

In September 2018, the secondary teacher was convicted of driving while over the legal alcohol limit, and was fined and disqualified from driving for 40 months.

Then, less than a month later, Mr Hewitt was convicted of two further offences, one for drink driving, and another for driving while disqualified.

He was sentenced to two months in prison, suspended for a year, and was disqualified from driving for three years.

For both drink driving offences, Mr Hewitt was nearly three times over the legal limit, the report stated.

The panel heard that the secondary teacher "takes full responsibility for his actions, no longer drinks on the weekends or socially and that he has found new employment and is performing well in his employment".

It also found evidence of his "proficiency as a teacher".

"Nevertheless, the panel also found that the seriousness of the offending behaviour that led to the conviction was relevant to Mr Hewitt's ongoing suitability to teach," the report stated.

The panel recommended that Mr Hewitt should be banned from teaching indefinitely, with the opportunity for a review after three years.

This was upheld by decision-maker Sarah Buxcey, on behalf of the secretary of state.

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Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @tweetsbyames

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