The Department for Education has stepped in to prolong a ban imposed on a teacher who tried to kiss two students he had arranged to meet in a pub on the last day of their exams.
A professional conduct panel of the Teaching Regulation Agency had originally imposed a two-year ban on Jonathan Whitlow, who taught biology at EF Academy, Oxford.
But the DfE said this failed to reflect the seriousness of the sexual motive involved, and extended it to five years.
The panel said in its ruling that Mr Whitlow should be banned from the profession for a minimum of two years over incidents that happened in a pub, including touching one student on her leg, thigh and bottom, hugging her and trying to kiss her on the mouth, as well as hugging and trying to kiss the second student.
Teacher 'touched student on the bottom'
Both students told the panel that Mr Whitlow and his class discussed having a final meeting once all exams had finished, which they would miss, as they would have left school by then.
Mr Whitlow said the two students suggested he should meet them instead in a pub and, while he had reservations about this, he felt he should go out of politeness.
He admitted that, while in the pub, his hand briefly and unintentionally touched one student’s thigh. He said the two students instigated hugs with him.
The students denied this and said they felt uncomfortable and left the pub, at which point Mr Whitlow tried to hug and kiss them.
“Mr Whitlow was an experienced teacher and should have known not to arrange to meet pupils alone at a local pub on the day of their last exam without the prior authorisation and knowledge of the school,” the panel said.
Hugging and kissing also meant he “failed to observe proper boundaries”, and the panel concluded the events were all sexually motivated.
It recommended that his professional ban could be reviewed after two years because of a 40-year career of good character and the possibility that an unnamed condition may have affected his judgment.
But DfE decision-maker Dawn Dandy rejected this, and instead imposed a five-year review period. Ms Dandy said a two-year ban was insufficient because of the sexual motivation involved, because two students were affected, and due to the teacher's lack of demonstrated insight or remorse.