An unqualified teacher who used a pupil’s safeguarding concern as a way of sending her "sexually motivated” correspondence has been banned from the classroom for life.
The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) found that Kris Barnett’s actions were sexually motivated, dishonest, and "placed the safeguarding of a pupil at risk".
The 37-year-old was employed at Lutterworth College in Leicestershire as a casual cover supervisor in February 2015. He accepted the position of an unqualified ICT teacher two months later.
The NCTL panel heard that the unspecified safeguarding issue was raised before Christmas 2015 and should have been “immediately reported as a safeguarding concern”.
However, a report published today says that he instead “used this to initiate the inappropriate contact with Pupil A rather than to report it to the designated safeguarding lead”.
No safeguarding referral
The pupil told the panel that Mr Barnett asked her to email his personal Gmail account, saying she could contact him any time of day for his support.
The report says there was evidence that he did not request a safeguarding referral form until 18 January – the day he was suspended from the school.
When the school investigated, Mr Barnett claimed he had raised the safeguarding concerns orally with the school’s pastoral team, but the panel said it “did not find this evidence credible”.
The report says: “The panel found that there were a number of instances where Mr Barnett sent highly inappropriate messages to Pupil A which included suggestive sexual language. The panel found that there were also instances where Mr Barnett referred to Pupil A as ‘sweetheart’, ‘hun’ and ‘hussy’.”
'Calculated and motivated'
It also refers to evidence of conversations about penetrative sex, and says the pupil said “she felt that conversations were more closely aligned to those which might take place between a boyfriend and girlfriend rather than a pupil and teacher”.
She told the panel there was no physical contact with Mr Barnett, and no attempts to arrange private meetings, but the panel said it could only find a sexual motivation for Mr Barnett engaging in the conversations.
The panel found that Mr Barnett asked the pupil to delete his emails after he became concerned that her father had access to her phone.
The panel described Mr Barnett’s actions as “calculated and motivated”, and recommended that he be issued with a prohibition order, and not allowed to apply to teach again.
Decision maker Dawn Dandy, acting on behalf of the education secretary, approved the recommendation.