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Teacher who sent flirtatious messages is banned for two years

A male teacher who sent flirtatious messages to female Year 9 pupils telling them he loved them and calling them "baby" has been banned from the profession.

Michael Pye, was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct after sending the texts and - two years later - similar emails.

A General Teaching Council panel said the messages "overstepped appropriate boundaries between pupil and teacher" and posed a risk to the children - especially one who was immature for her age.

Mr Pye messaged one girl: "Love you baby you know I am always there 4 U xxx."

An email read: "Hey baby, what the f*** happened today!!!! I am so sorry, but you know where I am and you know I will always love you. Hope this is not goodbye. xxx."

Mr Pye was working at Felpham Community College in Bognor Regis, West Sussex at the time.

GTC committee members Liz Carter, Andy Connell and Anne Garner said his actions risked "undermining public confidence in the profession".

"We conclude that Mr Pye's behaviour is fundamentally incompatible with the standards expected of a registered teacher," they said. "His actions fall far below the standard expected of a registered teacher and he has shown a disregard for the appropriate professional boundaries that must exist between teachers and pupils.

"Teachers have a responsibility to maintain a professional distance from pupils. Mr Pye did not maintain proper professional boundaries with young female students - one of whom, we were told by the headteacher, Mr Cook, had behavioural issues and was immature for her age. The pupils might easily have misinterpreted such communication. We believe that these actions presented a potential risk to the pupils, Mr Pye himself and the reputation of the profession.

Mr Pye, who was described as an "effective and competent teacher", was warned about his conduct following the inappropriate texts he sent in 2005. Despite this, he sent similar emails two years later.

"His actions were not an isolated incident," the panel said. "This would indicate that he has not reflected upon the potential effect of his communication.

"While he did offer regret to Mr Cook, the committee found little evidence of any insight into the seriousness of his actions."

Mr Pye will be able to re-apply to register as a teacher after two years.

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