'Child porn' images: ICT teacher to stand trial

18th September 2009 at 01:00
Technology education head at pound;8k-a-term girls' school accused

The head of ICT at a girls' private school faces trial after being accused of making and possessing child pornography.

It is alleged that William Burles, 37, had 20 images on his work computer and 20 images on his home computer.

Until recently he was director of ICT at Kent College in Tunbridge Wells, a day and boarding school that charges senior boarders fees of pound;8,000 a term.

Mr Burles, of Guildford Road in Tunbridge Wells, recently appeared at Sevenoaks magistrates court to deny nine counts of making indecent images and five counts of possessing indecent images, between June 6 2006 and November 20 last year.

Mr Burles pleaded not guilty to all charges and was given bail to appear again at Sevenoaks magistrates court for committal to Crown Court on October 30. l Schools Secretary Ed Balls is to review the detail of a new scheme designed to protect children from paedophiles.

The Home Office's new vetting and barring scheme, due to be phased in from next month, has prompted an outcry from civil liberties and volunteer groups.

Under the proposals, anyone who comes into "frequent" or "intensive" contact with children could face a pound;5,000 fine if they fail to register with the new Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

But critics say the scheme is over-the-top, and even parents who provide lifts for volunteer groups such as the Scouts would have to undergo a pound;64 check.

Children's author Philip Pullman called the scheme "dispiriting and sinister" after it was revealed that even writers visiting schools and libraries would have to be vetted.

However, earlier this week ISA chairman Sir Roger Singleton urged dissenters to "calm down".

"We need to consider carefully and rationally what this scheme is and is not about," he said.

"It is about ensuring that those who have already been dismissed by their employers for inappropriate behaviour with children do not simply up sticks and move elsewhere in the country to continue their abuse."

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