Black marks for blue emails

27th May 2005 at 01:00
Two science teachers who became the first to face a joint disciplinary hearing of England's General Teaching Council have been found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

Philip Davidson and Andrea Croft, formerly of the Grange comprehensive in Runcorn, Cheshire, were accused of sending each other sexually explicit emails.

They told an earlier hearing that there was a bawdy culture among science staff at the 1,100-pupil school and that the emails were in keeping with that.

The pair, who are now working as supply teachers, were also accused of surfing the internet in lesson time.

Last week the GTC in Birmingham issued Mr Davidson with a conditional registration order saying that for two years he must not access the internet nor any email system when on school premises. He must also notify any potential employer of these conditions and send proof to the GTC.

The committee gave Ms Croft a reprimand after taking into account her "very genuine regret" and previous exemplary record. The reprimand remains on her record for two years and must be disclosed.

At the earlier hearing Ms Croft described the emails as part of a running joke which was very adult and very crude. The pair acknowledged that it was improper to send the emails during lessons. The content of the emails was revealed at the earlier hearing when Barry Carney, deputy head, said that over three days in October 2003, he monitored a string of sexually explicit emails between the pair after being asked by the head to monitor staff internet use.

Mr Carney said that during September 2003, Ms Croft accessed the internet on 25 occasions - nine times during lessons as she planned her Christmas shopping. Mr Carney said that between September 1 and October 16, 2003, Mr Davidson browsed the internet on 166 occasions - 97 of which were during class time.

He said their actions contravened the school's technology policy and an investigation into their conduct was started, but never completed, as both resigned in December 2003.

Mr Carney described Ms Croft who had taught at the school for 13 years, as "a super teacher, among the best in the school".

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