PE teacher sent explicit texts to schoolgirls as he drove minibus

15th April 2011 at 01:00
He blamed jet lag for 'sexual banter' with three pupils from neighbouring school

A PE teacher has been banned from the classroom for two years after sending sexually explicit text messages to schoolgirls aged under 16.

Darryl Bate, who taught at Woodcote High School in Surrey, engaged in "explicit sexual banter" with the pupils while driving a school minibus, according to the General Teaching Council for England (GTC).

Mr Bate, who sent the messages to three pupils at a different school, claimed he acted as he did because he was suffering from jet lag. He also said that the first pupil he texted was a friend and that he did not know she was a school pupil. Both defences were rejected.

The messages were sent in November 2008 to pupils from nearby Matthew Arnold School.

The GTC criticised his "very serious" behaviour and ruled that it had the potential to "cause pupils anxiety and disquiet, if not more extreme emotions of fear".

"It is abundantly clear from the material which has been transcribed from the two telephones that you ascertained that the person (Pupil A) was under 16," the disciplinary panel ruled.

"When you sent an apology on the following day, you said 'I'm worried cos of ur age'. You have given wholly conflicting accounts as to whom you were speaking."

Two other pupils were sent the same messages that Mr Bate sent to Pupil A, the panel said.

"You were engaging in explicit sexual banter with pupils from another school while in charge of a sports team from Woodcote High School and Sports College," the judgment said. "You breached the code of conduct in that you failed to put the well-being, development and progress of children first."

The GTC found that Mr Bate had not initiated the text message conversations, but said he should have acted with "integrity and decency and maturity" after he had been contacted by the pupils. "Your behaviour was a thoroughly immature response to a degree of provocation," it said. "You ought to have known better."

Mr Bate, who claimed the minibus was not moving when the texts were sent, provided "excellent" references but was "hostile" during the GTC hearing, the panel said.

"It would be wholly inappropriate not to impose a sanction on a teacher who has behaved in the way you behaved," it ruled.

"The committee would not be properly serving the public interest if it did not mark your conduct with a sanction."

Mr Bate was not charged with any criminal offence and the Independent Safeguarding Authority did not take proceedings against him.

The GTC panel said that Mr Bate had showed "limited insight" into his actions, but said it did not consider there was a "significant risk" of him repeating his behaviour.


Banned for after-hours 'guidance'

A teacher who had an "inappropriate" relationship with a pupil has been suspended from the profession for two years.

Paul North lied to his headteacher about seeing a pupil outside school hours and continued to meet her while his conduct was being investigated.

Mr North, who taught PSHE at Thomas Alleyne's High School in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, was not accused of having a sexual relationship with the pupil. He said they met so he could offer her "advice and guidance".

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