Married RE teacher banned for texting 'cuddly thoughts' to pupil

19th August 2011 at 01:00
He imagined 15-year-old girl 'in her pyjamas' and tried to meet her when his wife was out

A married RE teacher at a Catholic school who sent a 15-year-old pupil intimate text messages and emails has been struck off for a minimum of five years.

Nicholas Ranford told the girl he was having "cuddly thoughts" about her "lying around in her pyjamas", and tried to arrange to meet her when his wife was out.

"I can still see your face, still feel your hair on my fingers and your hands in mine," he wrote to the girl.

Mr Ranford admitted to the girl he had told her things that would put his career and family "at risk", and said "... if I were single and not your teacher ...".

He also admitted to her "this is a nasty adult game and I've no right to ask you to play it".

The senior teacher, who worked as head of RE at Saint John Houghton Catholic School in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, sent the emails and texts between 27 November 2009 and 7 January 2010.

He admitted sending them and was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct at a General Teaching Council for England (GTC) hearing last week.

Panel chairman Aftab Zia said Mr Ranford's behaviour was "wholly unacceptable" and that this was "graphically illustrated by the contents of the texts and emails, (which) means that a sanction is clearly appropriate".

"It is of the utmost importance that any communications between a pupil and a teacher are appropriate in order that the teacher maintains appropriate professional boundaries with pupils," he said.

Mr Ranford's conduct was made worse by the fact that he had a pastoral role at the school alongside the school chaplain, the GTC ruled.

He "therefore had a responsibility to take particular care in his relationships with pupils and set an example to others," the panel said.

Mr Zia said Mr Ranford had shown a "stark lack of insight" into his actions and said his "abuse of a position of trust" meant it was not appropriate for him to remain in the profession.

"Whilst he has made clear admissions, he has dwelt at length about his own position to justify his actions, as opposed to recognising the potential or actual consequences of his actions on the 15-year-old Year 11 pupil," he said.

"He has failed to recognise that her interests should have been paramount in his mind from the outset. From the beginning he showed a complete disregard for his duty as a teacher towards her."

Mr Ranford gave the GTC character references, which attested "to remorse and contrition".

But he was banned from the profession for a minimum of five years, after which time he can apply to re-register as a teacher.

REPRIMAND

Pornographic websites

A former teacher at Shevington High School, Wigan, has been reprimanded by the GTC after he was found to have downloaded pornographic websites at work.

Peter Woodward viewed websites with "sexually explicit and offensive content", the GTC ruled, while working at the school between September and October 2009.

The teacher admitted the offences and resigned from the school. He was given a reprimand that will remain on his record for two years.

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