Damian Hinds overrules watchdog and bans teacher for racist language

9th March 2018 at 13:23
emmanuel Egbe banned NCTL national college for teaching and leadership
National College had been prepared to let Philip Pedley – who had also bought alcohol for an underage pupil and drunk excessively on a school trip – continue teaching. It had accepted his view that his racist language was not malicious but 'outdated'

The education secretary has stepped in to ban a teacher who referred to pupils using racist slurs, after the National College for Teaching (NCTL) ruled he could continue teaching.

The intervention will result in Philip Pedley, a former history teacher at Oundle School, in Peterborough, barred from the profession indefinitely.

Mr Pedley was found by the NCTL to have used racist language to other teachers, when describing pupils at the independent school.

He told other members of staff: “I don’t want to teach blackies and chinkies in my classroom."

And he told pupils, "Your father must have come over, stealing our jobs” and "That’s pretty good for a foreigner."

Panel persuaded

An NCTL report published today states: "The panel is persuaded by Mr Pedley’s evidence that he did not understand that his language could be considered as racist.

"The panel’s view is that whilst Mr Pedley’s conduct was entirely misjudged and inappropriate, it accepts Mr Pedley’s position that it was not malicious or intended to harm but that it was outdated."

"Further, the panel considers that Mr Pedley has demonstrated insight into his conduct and he acknowledges that his language could be associated with negative racial and/or cultural stereotypes and that he had a lack of awareness as to how his comments could potentially be perceived. "

The teacher had shown remorse, said he never intended offence and "abhors racism", according to the report.

However, Mr Pedley had faced several other serious allegations, including that he drank excessively - to the point of slurring his speech and swaying - while acting as trip leader on a visit to Vienna and Budapest. This was found by the panel to be true.

'Unacceptable conduct'

On the morning of the return flight home, he admitted to consuming a "small bottle" of wine while queuing in airport security, having a “good beer” at the airport, and drinking wine on the flight.  

He also bought alcohol for an underage pupil and allowed sixth formers to smoke and consume "excessive alcohol" while under his watch.

The panel concluded that his conduct amounted to "unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute".

But it found there was also evidence that he was an "effective, dedicated and well-respected teacher who has positively influenced the lives of pupils in many areas of school life throughout his 37-year career at the school".

Therefore, it decided that a prohibition order would be "unnecessarily punitive".

It said: "The panel considers that the publication of the adverse findings it has made is sufficient to send an appropriate message to Mr Pedley and to all members of the teaching profession as to the standards of behaviour that are not acceptable."

Teacher banned

But decision-maker Dawn Dandy, acting on behalf of education secretary Damian Hinds, overruled the panel. She said: "I do not feel that the panel has given adequate weight to the potential damage to the public perception of the teaching profession if behaviours such as those found proven are not dealt with appropriately and proportionately."

Mr Pedley will not be able to apply for the prohibition order to be set aside for another two years.

Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow Tes on Twitter and like Tes on Facebook

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you.

Login/Register now


Related Content

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now