Caught with ecstasy, but no classroom ban

12th March 2010 at 00:00
Career survives police caution, but GTC imposes two-year reprimand

A teacher who was given a formal police caution after being caught with ecstasy is being allowed to remain the classroom.

Noel Kehoe was cautioned by Thames Valley Police in September 2008 for possession of the class A drug. The crime carries a potential sentence of an unlimited fine or seven years in prison.

At a private General Teaching Council (GTC) hearing last week, Mr Kehoe admitted to the misdemeanour and that it was unprofessional conduct.

However, following a series of references from current and previous headteachers, the teacher was given a two-year reprimand, which means he will be allowed to continue his teaching career.

The GTC panel said it aimed to make an order that "represents the seriousness of this case".

However, after considering references on behalf of Mr Kehoe, including character submissions from his current and former headteachers, it took a more "lenient line" in the judging of the case.

"We have taken into account the numerous very strong references from a number of people," said GTC panel chair Professor Chris Cook. "This is not a case about Mr Kehoe's competence as a teacher and his references make clear that he is a good teacher.

"We are satisfied that Mr Kehoe has a valuable contribution to make to the teaching profession.

"However, we consider that possession of a class A controlled drug is a serious matter.

"A teacher cautioned for the criminal offence of possession of a controlled drug is likely to damage the reputation of the profession and we have concluded it is likely to damage public confidence in the teaching profession."

Mr Kehoe's reprimand will remain on the register for two years, and may be taken into account in any future proceedings against him.

Balls steps in to keep fee hike in line with inflation

Schools Secretary Ed Balls has turned down the GTC's request for a #163;6 increase to the annual #163;33 registration fee from teachers.

The profession's regulatory body has been forced accept an increase of #163;3.50 in line with inflation.

It is the second time Mr Balls has turned down the organisation's request for a hike.

The move was welcomed by teaching unions.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: "For the GTCE to expect an 18 per cent increase in its fee was, therefore, reckless and ill-conceived.

"The fact that its claim for a #163;6 increase has been rejected underlines this point.

"The GTCE must now 'cut its coat according to its cloth' and set a budget which concentrates on its core regulatory function, not on expensive pet projects which add little value."

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