RE teacher discussed his sex life and undressed in class

25th March 2011 at 00:00
He also told anti-Semitic joke to pupils

A religious studies teacher who discussed his sex life with a colleague in front of pupils and took his shirt off in the classroom has been suspended from the profession for a year.

Norman Wright also told an anti-Semitic joke as part of a lesson and lifted a pupil on to his shoulders, a General Teaching Council for England (GTC) panel heard.

Mr Wright, a secondary teacher at Lord Williams's School in Thame, Oxford, told his teaching assistant about a sexual encounter, saying "within 30 seconds we had our clothes off", the GTC ruled. The professional conduct committee was unable to determine if the conversation had been heard by pupils, who were in class at the time.

On another occasion Mr Wright was found to have told pupils outside school that he had had sex over the weekend.

The GTC panel said it was "concerned" about Mr Wright's "pattern of inappropriate behaviour over a significant period of time". Colleagues warned him about his actions but the GTC said he "failed to show appropriate insight or reflection into his conduct".

"It is inappropriate for a teacher to talk to pupils about such a personal subject," said GTC panel chair Adam Nichols.

Mr Wright, who was cleared by the GTC of telling sexist jokes to pupils and making fun of the death of TV star Jade Goody, took off his shirt in front of pupils to change for a football session. Mr Nichols said this was "inappropriate".

The teacher insisted he made the anti-Semitic joke to illustrate a point during a lesson and the GTC panel said there was no evidence he had offensive views. But the panel said his actions "fell below the expected professional standards".

In March 2009, Mr Wright asked a pupil to climb on to his shoulders in order to put a project at the top of a cupboard.

The GTC said this was "inappropriate" and had put the health and safety of the child at risk. Mr Wright said he had not "thought through the possible consequences".

"Mr Wright's actions identify a failure to establish and maintain appropriate professional boundaries in his relationship with pupils," Mr Nichols said.

"Having such an inappropriate conversation with a teaching assistant falls below the standards of conduct expected of the profession and is in breach of the standards of propriety expected of the profession.

"Mr Wright failed to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety and well-being of children and young people under his supervision."

Mr Nichols said Mr Wright, who has been suspended for a year, was a "reasonable" teacher and there was no suggestion he was a risk to pupils.

"While there is no evidence that the actions we have found proven had a detrimental effect on pupils or their education, we are concerned that Mr Wright exhibited a pattern of inappropriate behaviour over a significant period of time," he said.

'Highly irresponsible'

Reprimand for hiding alcohol in a nursery fridge

A teacher who stored alcohol in a nursery fridge open to pupils has been allowed to stay in the profession.

Yvonne Livingston put the drink in a water bottle and kept it at Leigh Primary in Tameside, a GTC panel heard. She was cleared of being under the influence of alcohol while at school - behavior she blamed on a migraine - because the main witness was Muslim and "unfamiliar with the effects".

Mrs Livingston was disqualified from driving in 2004 after failing to provide a specimen for analysis. The GTC panel, who said that her behaviour was "highly irresponsible", issued her with a reprimand.

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