Teacher struck off for ‘sexually motivated’ innuendo with pupil

Teacher banned for sending former student Facebook messages commenting on her weight, discussing sexual topics and using sexual innuendo

Will Hazell

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A teacher has been struck off for sending “sexually motivated” messages and innuendo to a former pupil over Facebook.

Jack Fursdon, 25, who taught at The Henry Box School in Oxfordshire, has been banned from teaching indefinitely, though he can appeal the prohibition order in two years’ time.

A professional conduct panel of the National College for Teaching and Leadership found that he had “inappropriate contact” with a child via Facebook.

Mr Fursdon was employed at The Henry Box School from September 2016, but prior to this worked as a teaching assistant at The Marlborough School, a secondary school in Oxfordshire.

In July 2016 he sent a Facebook message to “Child A”, a pupil at The Marlborough School, to which the child only replied on 25 September 2016.

At this point, Mr Fursdon and the pupil engaged in an online conversation over the course of three days.

Mr Fursdon admitted to the panel that the conversation represented “inappropriate contact”. During the conversation, he commented on Child A’s weight, discussed sexual topics, asked her about her sexual experience, discussed pregnancy and used sexual innuendo.

While Mr Fursdon admitted to engaging in an inappropriate conversation and failing to comply with The Henry Box School’s safeguarding policies, he denied the conversation was sexually motivated.

However, the panel found that “sexual motivation was more likely than not to have been his motivation”.

'It made me feel scared'

According to a written statement prepared during the school investigation into the incident, Child A said: “Not long into the conversation he started to ask some inappropriate questions which made me feel uncomfortable and scared.”

The panel said Mr Fursdon had shown “credible” evidence of “contrition and insight into his actions”, and that it did not consider him to be an ongoing risk to pupils. It also added that it had seen “evidence of good character provided by Mr Fursdon’s mother”.

However, the panel concluded that prohibition was “proportionate and appropriate”. It recommended that he should be able to appeal against the prohibition order in two years’ time because though he had been "extremely naive and foolish" in sending sexually motivated messages to a former pupil under the age of 18, “his actions were at the less serious end of the scale”.

The education secretary’s representative, Alan Meyrick, accepted the panel’s recommendation and said the two-year review period was “sufficient to satisfy the maintenance of public confidence in the profession”.

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