Pupils spent night at home of special-school teacher

11th March 2011 at 00:00
Two-year ban after 'inappropriate physical contact' with vulnerable children

A teacher at a special school who allowed vulnerable pupils to stay in his house overnight and exchanged phone numbers, addresses and photographs with them has been banned from the profession for two years.

Milton Reynolds visited children at their homes and engaged in "inappropriate physical contact" with them, a General Teaching Council for England (GTC) panel heard.

Mr Reynolds also became "too involved" with the children's "personal lives" and with their families, and he failed to report child protection concerns.

His actions were an "abuse" of the position of trust and there is the "potential" for him to "pose a continuing risk" to children, according to panel chair Liz Carter.

The incidents took place between 1997 and 2007, first at the Valley School in Stevenage and then at Pinewood Special School in Ware, both in Hertfordshire.

At both institutions, Mr Reynolds's colleagues "questioned his motivations and intentions" because he "failed to distance himself from pupils", Ms Carter said.

Between 1999 and 2005 he exchanged home and mobile phone numbers with children, as well as addresses and photographs. He allowed pupils to stay overnight at his house and visited some at their homes.

Mr Reynolds also engaged in inappropriate physical conduct with children, became "too involved" with their personal lives and families and "failed in his duty of care" by neglecting to refer concerns to those responsible for child protection.

Senior members of staff unsuccessfully advised him to "maintain professional boundaries".

While working at Pinewood between April 2006 and March 2007, he also "failed to distance himself from pupils" and, according to the GTC, engaged in inappropriate physical contact with children, again ignoring the advice of his bosses to maintain professional boundaries.

"We consider that Mr Reynolds's conduct constituted a serious departure from the code of conduct, had the potential to seriously affect the well-being of pupils, was an abuse of position and trust, particularly as this case involves vulnerable pupils, and there has been a persistent lack of insight into the seriousness of his actions and the potential consequences," Ms Carter said.

"In particular, we have noted that the events took place over a period of years and within two special schools and, having regard to that and the lack of insight, there is the potential for Mr Reynolds to pose a continuing risk to children.

"We have noted that Mr Reynolds has admitted the allegations and that they amount to unacceptable professional conduct, and he has assisted the GTC in the preparation of the case."

CAUSE FOR CONCERN - Online chats and phone calls

Married teacher Alexis Bailey gave pupils lifts home, chatted to them online, met them outside school and offered them her personal mobile phone number.

Mrs Bailey, who worked at Thurston Community College in Suffolk, became "emotionally" involved with a pupil and wanted a permanent relationship with him when he left school.

She met pupils socially, accepted them as friends on her Facebook page, told them about her private life, gave them her address, talked to them in internet chatrooms and sent them texts. She was banned from teaching for a year.

Bradford teacher Abid Khan called and texted a pupil who was "infatuated" with him almost 10 times a day. He gave the child his mobile phone number, even though he reported "concerns" about the 15-year-old to colleagues.

Their relationship, which lasted for two years, only stopped when the police became involved. Mr Khan was banned from teaching for two years last year.

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