Teacher banned after string of convictions comes to light

10th September 2010 at 01:00
Contact with police dates back to 1997, but GTC unaware of criminal record

A teacher who invaded a football pitch has been banned from the profession for two years after being convicted of a string of criminal offences.

Stuart Hallam's bad behaviour included dishonesty, public disorder and racist abuse, the General Teaching Council for England (GTC) ruled this week. He has a "serious attitudinal problem which is wholly incompatible with continued practice as a teacher" the GTC found.

Between 1997 and 2009, Mr Hallam was cautioned by police for theft, using threatening and insulting language and interfering with traffic equipment. He was also found guilty of being drunk and disorderly and, on one occasion, invading a pitch during a football match.

Mr Hallam did not attend the GTC hearing, held in Birmingham this week. But in his absence, a disciplinary panel banned him from the profession for at least two years.

Chairman of the panel, Barry Picken, said the offences "throw doubt on Mr Hallam's fitness to practise".

"[The committee] is satisfied that each of these offences amounts to behaviour which falls short of the standard expected of a registered teacher, and amounts to a breach of the standards of propriety expected of the profession," the ruling said.

"Mr Hallam's behaviour includes dishonesty, public disorder and racist abuse. Such behaviour is too serious for this committee to conclude the case without a disciplinary order, or with only a reprimand.

"Mr Hallam's behaviour discloses a serious attitudinal problem which is wholly incompatible with continued practice as a teacher."

It added that for the "protection of the public" and to maintain confidence in teachers, "nothing less than a prohibition order" would be appropriate.

Mr Hallam first got in trouble with the police in August 1997 when he was cautioned by officers in Greater Manchester. He was cautioned again in 1998 with further convictions in 2001, 2002 and 2009.

A spokeswoman for the GTC said that Mr Hallam's earlier offences came to light after he appeared in court last year, prompting the council to take action against him.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "I can't comment on this individual case, but criminal records do come through to schools very quickly though the very detailed processes in place, which are very robust."

'I LIKE TO SEE A GIRL ON HER KNEES'

A retired Catholic teacher in Scotland has been struck off after making sexual comments to female pupils, including: "I like to see a girl on her knees" and complimenting another on her "nice hand action" when shaking a test tube.

Peter Saunderson, who retired from St David's High in Dalkeith in June 2006, admitted making inappropriate remarks and "unacceptable physical conduct" towards female pupils as young as 13 at a General Teaching Council for Scotland hearing.

Eight girls made complaints against Mr Saunderson after the school launched an investigation.

Mr Saunderson admitted all the charges. But his solicitor argued that, while the comments were "crass", they were made in a "jocular manner".

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