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Porn stashed in classroom

Primary teacher with previous unblemished record has been banned for two years, writes Andrew Wakefield

A primary teacher has been banned from teaching for two years after explicit pornography was found in an unlocked cupboard in his classroom.

David Hugo, formerly a Year 1 teacher at St Agnes junior and infants in Cornwall, was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by England's General Teaching Council this week.

An electrician discovered a box of pornographic magazines and articles underneath football kit while working at the school in the summer holidays in 2003. His firm contacted Greg Foxwell, headteacher, and reported the incident to Cornwall county council and the child protection team.

Mr Foxwell and another member of staff searched the cupboard and removed the material before informing school governors.

He then called Mr Hugo, who had worked at the school since 1996, to a meeting in his office.

Mr Foxwell said: "I told him what we had found. He said he had been a prat."

Mr Hugo said he had been worried about his family's reaction and was so upset that he could not focus on what he was being told. Mr Foxwell phoned him later that evening because he was concerned about his mental health. Mr Hugo was suspended pending further investigations.

Mr Foxwell delivered a letter by hand to Mr Hugo informing him of the suspension and Mr Hugo was called to a disciplinary meeting in August 2003 where he announced his resignation from the 196-pupil school.

Mr Hugo had been in the process of applying for a post as deputy headteacher at another school before the incident.

He did not attend this week's GTC hearing but in a statement said he had been working on his loft and storing the material at the school while the work took place.

Ron Clooney, chairman of the hearing, said that Mr Hugo freely admitted that he had brought items on to the school premises.

Robert Bourns, presenting officer, said: "It is not acceptable for anyone to bring this sort of material into a primary or secondary school."

He said the panel took into account written submissions, references and Mr Hugo's previous unblemished record but decided that his actions had the potential to bring the profession into serious disrepute.

Given the serious nature of the material and the potential for access by others in the school, particularly children, the GTC decided that it was necessary to make a disciplinary order.

But Mr Clooney said "We do not consider that this isolated incident is fundamentally incompatible with continuing to be a registered teacher.

There is no evidence that Mr Hugo poses a risk of repeating his behaviour."

News 11

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