Maths teacher told Year 9s he 'likes a girl in uniform'

2nd July 2010 at 01:00
Sexualised banter brought profession into disrepute, says GTC as it hands out reprimand

A maths teacher who made comments about a pupil's breasts and told girls he could make a lot of money by being their pimp has been reprimanded.

James Lumsden made a series of sexual remarks to a Year 9 class, including telling a girl to "stop shaking your boobs and sit down", and that he "liked a girl in uniform", a disciplinary hearing was told.

Mr Lumsden, who taught at Southfield School for Girls in Northamptonshire, was criticised by the General Teaching Council for England (GTC) for talking about prostitution, the role of pimps and the associated risks to women. He also suggested that his pupils call themselves the "Southfield sexies".

The teacher initially expressed regret for "bantering on a wholly inappropriate topic" and for "any upset" he might have caused, but was less apologetic during the GTC case - arguing that he had not acted unprofessionally.

He joined in with the discussion about the sex industry - started by pupils - at the end of a maths lesson, the hearing was told. When a pupil said the tips in the sex industry were good he said: "The odd #163;10 slipped into their garter ... is not a lot of money considering the risks."

He also said: "For example, if I was your pimp and had your name and number then I would be very rich, but you would be the ones who take the risks and not keep much of the money."

In answer to a pupil's comment Mr Lumsden said, "exactly - you could get raped".

When a pupil was talking about a pending school visit by the Ministry of Defence and said she liked a man in uniform, he responded, "I like a girl in uniform".

The comments were made in two lessons in May 2007. In a letter written immediately after the event, Mr Lumsden said that his comments had been "foolish" and that he should have stopped the discussion.

Mr Lumsden was suspended by the school and subsequently dismissed. He has not returned to teaching and is no longer registered with the GTC.

The committee said it had taken mitigating evidence into account, including reference to his health at the time. Mr Lumsden also provided references from former colleagues to his general character.

But the GTC decided that his comments "all arose as a result of Mr Lumsden being an active participant in sexualised banter which should never have been allowed to occur during a lesson with 13-14 year[-old] female pupils".

It added: "Such conduct brings the reputation and standing of the profession into disrepute."

A reprimand will remain on Mr Lumsden's record for two years.

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