Late-night web chats with pupils end in ban

14th January 2011 at 00:00
Teacher also targeted girl favourites with 'misguided generosity'

A teacher who offered to buy gym memberships for pupils and chatted with two Year 7 girls on the internet late at night has been banned from the profession for two years.

Vishaal Panday also wrote letters for pupils to get them excused from other teachers' lessons, gave them gifts and showed his class personal holiday photographs.

His colleagues at Northcliffe School in Doncaster had previously warned him not to "favour" particular pupils, and a General Teaching Council for England (GTC) disciplinary panel said his "misguided generosity" and the fact he "singled out" children for special treatment was "inappropriate".

He also "targeted" the same favoured pupils with inappropriate discussions about near-naked women and gambling in PSHE lessons.

Mr Panday offered to obtain passes for the gym Fitness First for the girls, although he later said he was only going to give their parents complementary vouchers so they could take them to the gym.

He wrote letters for the pupils so that they could miss other lessons, claiming this was to work on the school magazine, and bought a ticket for a Year 8 pupil to attend a school production.

While chatting with the pupils on the internet, Mr Panday asked them "personal" questions and didn't want others to join the discussion, the panel heard.

Mr Panday was also accused of booking a holiday in Cornwall to coincide with the family holiday of one of his female pupils, but the panel decided there was not enough evidence to support this. It said the evidence was "confusing" and the school could not find proof that he had booked a holiday.

The panel said Mr Panday, who did not attend his hearing or respond to the allegations, had "breached the standards of propriety" in regard to the other charges against him.

"The purchasing of gifts was also unacceptable, not least in circumstances where Mr Panday had received an earlier warning and was showing favouritism and his actions represented the targeting of the same female pupils," panel chair Andy Connell said.

"The conduct was serious but we have seen no evidence of harmful deep-seated personality or attitudinal problems. Mr Panday targeted three female pupils, was given repeated warnings that were largely ignored and has displayed little understanding of the need to maintain proper boundaries with pupils.

Mr Connell said Mr Panday had not shown "insight" into his conduct and "expressions of regret have been very limited".

He added: "There was a general failure by Mr Panday to maintain proper professional boundaries. These actions fell far short of the standards acceptable to the profession and are wholly incompatible with the expectations of a professional member of the teaching profession. The allegations are of sufficient concern and severity to amount to unacceptable professional conduct.

"Further, the conduct is such that it could have seriously affected pupils. This was not an isolated incident and Mr Panday had received prior warnings as to his conduct."

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