Struck off for screening a porn video

19th September 2008 at 01:00
Head in Pakistan is first teacher working abroad to be found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by GTC

The English principal of a school in Pakistan has been found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct after he admitted allowing a 13-year- old boy to watch a porn video.

Andrew Gordon is the first teacher to be struck off the English teaching register for his actions in a foreign country.

The incident took place at Murree Christian School in the Punjab, Pakistan, some time between September 2004 and January 2006.

The General Teaching Council for England (GTC) panel heard that Mr Gordon had been alone with the child in his private quarters when he encouraged the boy to watch the film. It rejected Mr Gordon's suggestion that the seriousness of the matter was lessened because it occurred at the weekend, not within the confines of "regular" school.

In his defence, Mr Gordon said that the school, which was set up in 1956 for the children of missionaries, was an isolated, oppressive environment with strict security measures, and that this was what led him to make "an error of professional judgment".

But the panel concluded: "We consider this to be a serious departure from the GTC code of conduct, and as falling very short of the standards of propriety expected and bringing the profession into disrepute. Mr Gordon held a position of trust as a registered teacher, and as the director of the Murree School he held ultimate responsibility. In our view, he failed to fulfil this responsibility in a serious way."

Mr Gordon, who previously had an unblemished teaching record, has undertaken counselling following the isolated incident.

He has the right to appeal against the prohibition at the High Court, and will be able to apply for re-registration after two years.

The case is the first of its kind to be dealt with by the GTC, after Mr Gordon's British-based employers, Interserve, referred the case to the Department for Children, Schools and Families. The only other England- registered teacher to find himselff in front of the GTC for allegations abroad was Jonty Hawkins, who was struck off in New Zealand for serious misconduct involving pornography.

But when he returned to England in 2004, the disciplinary body ruled that the allegations were unproven, and he was allowed to continue working in this country.

Alan Meyrick, the GTC registrar, said: "If a registered teacher is referred to us while working aboard for alleged incompetence or misconduct, we will follow the same investigatory procedures that we do with registered teachers working in England."

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