'Sexually inappropriate' supply teacher banned for a decade
A teacher has been banned from the profession for at least 10 years after encouraging a pupil over the internet to engage in "sexually inappropriate" behaviour.
David Peel was working as a supply teacher at Harton Technology College in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, when he engaged in what he claimed was a drunken conversation with the pupil, the General Teaching Council for England (GTC) heard.
According to a disciplinary panel, Mr Peel breached child protection policies that preclude encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways and making sexually suggestive comments.
"The committee was seriously concerned about the nature of the exchanges between Mr Peel and Pupil A," the GTC ruling said. "We thought there was a serious threat to the well-being of Pupil A and there was an abuse of trust involving a pupil at a vulnerable stage of their development.
"Mr Peel's explanation that he was drunk, even if true, does not mitigate his actions and is not sufficient to remove our concerns that the same action would not be repeated in future similar circumstances.
"For this reason we believe that it would not be appropriate for Mr Peel to make an early application for restoration and that he shall not be entitled to make such an application for 10 years."
Mr Peel, who admitted the allegations to the GTC, was employed at the school between January 2008 and March 2009.
He specifically breached the "sexual abuse", "general conduct" and "unacceptable practices" sections of the school's child protection policy. The GTC found that he had failed to maintain a "safe and appropriate distance" from Pupil A and made personal contact without parental consent.
"We think that this policy is clear and comprehensive and reflects the proper standards expected of a teacher," the GTC ruled.
"Mr Peel failed to take reasonable care of a pupil with the aim of ensuring their safety and welfare and he also brought the reputation and standing of the profession into serious disrepute. Members of the public would be seriously concerned about a teacher engaging in such behaviour."
In reaching its decision to strike Mr Peel off the teaching register, the GTC professional conduct committee said the action was necessary to protect pupils and maintain public confidence in teachers.
It is understood that Mr Peel was escorted off the school premises immediately after the allegations first came to light.
Since 2001, seven teachers have been banned for life by the GTC. A further 12, including Mr Peel, have been struck off for at least five years before they can apply to go back on the register.
HUGS AND KISSES GET REPRIMAND
A history teacher who conducted an inappropriate relationship with a sixth-form pupil, which included hugging and kissing her on her birthday, has been allowed to return to the classroom.
Richard Ellis developed the relationship with the student despite being given verbal and written warnings by management at Heckmondwike Grammar School in West Yorkshire.
Mr Ellis, who worked at the school from summer 2006 until he resigned in October 2007, did not teach the pupil concerned. The GTC ruled that he was guilty of abusing his professional position, but it allowed him to resume his career with a reprimand.