For his eyes only

30th September 2011 at 01:00
Teacher is banned after offering girl cash to model PE kit at his home

A veteran teacher who offered a pupil cash to visit his home and model her PE kit for him has been suspended from the profession.

Graham Metson, who had been a teacher for 27 years, asked two female Year 10 pupils to go to his house on a Saturday so he could draw one of them in her kit, the General Teaching Council for England (GTC) heard.

Mr Metson, who worked at Helena Romanes School in Essex, admitted that he had offered #163;50 each to the girls for their time, and said he had paid similar sums to models in the past. The second pupil was expected to complete "chores" while the other posed, the GTC said.

The design and technology teacher, who worked at the school between 2003 and 2010, said that the proposed art work was due to be part of a 2012 Olympic-themed project. But his actions were heavily criticised by the GTC, which found Mr Metson guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

"To invite two adolescent girls who were pupils at his school, and whom he had taught in Year 9, to his home to model is disturbing and not acceptable," its ruling said. "The committee does not accept that Mr Metson has been entirely genuine in his account of the incidents and his explanation."

In the event, the girls did not go to Mr Metson's home as the matter was brought to the attention of the school and safeguarding authorities, the GTC said.

Mr Metson had failed to get permission from either of the girls' parents for the arrangement, but had told the girl who was due to model that her parents could accompany her.

The professional conduct committee said that Mr Metson's behaviour "demonstrated a failure to understand his duty to safeguard children". He should not have attempted to meet pupils outside school unless he had already obtained permission from both their parents and the headteacher, the GTC said. It also described the payment given to the pupils as "entirely inappropriate", and said that to ask a pupil to model was a "clear abuse of his position of trust".

"Even if these were acts of pure naivety, his conduct exposed his school, the pupils and the profession to damage to their reputation," the ruling said.

A criminal investigation was by launched by Essex police after the allegations came to light, but no action was taken against Mr Metson. The Independent Safeguarding Authority also said it would be inappropriate to bar Mr Metson from working with children.

Mr Metson resigned from the school after receiving a written warning, and has said he does not intend to teach again.

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