Teacher rebuked for porn during prep time

7th November 2008 at 00:00
English head allowed back into class after psychiatric assessment

A head of English has been disciplined after he admitted looking at pornographic websites during lessons and calling "premium rate" numbers from school phones.

Darren Adamson, 36, logged on to camcandy.com and other sites, the General Teaching Council for England heard. He also used preparation time to access the material and called telephone numbers linked to at least one site, the professional conduct committee ruled.

"Whilst there is no evidence that any pupils had sight of the website at a time when Mr Adamson gained access to wholly inappropriate material, this was a matter of good fortune and there was clearly a risk that a pupil may have entered a room when such images were on screen," its ruling said.

The incidents took place in April and May last year at Houghton Kepier School in Houghton le Spring, Tyne and Wear.

Mr Adamson also knowingly broke the school's internet policy, because each time he logged on he would have been reminded that accessing such sites was not allowed.

"This is particularly serious as he was head of English ... and was in a position of particular trust and authority," the ruling said.

"He used school facilities for private interests ... In doing so, Mr Adamson has brought the standing and reputation of the teaching profession into serious disrepute."

Little recent evidence was available on Mr Adamson's teaching, although he had been favourably assessed as an advanced skills teacher in 2001. There was also a lack of evidence as to his character.

"It was highly regrettable that, however difficult he may have found it, Mr Adamson declined to attend," the committee said.

"However, the written accounts provided by both Mr Adamson and his wife provide an outline which suggests that Mr Adamson had experienced considerable difficulties and anxiety in his personal life.

At the hearing earlier this week, the GTC imposed a conditional registration order on Mr Adamson, stating that he must not use school equipment to view sexually explicit material, and that he must be assessed by a psychiatrist before being allowed to return to the classroom.

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