A TEACHER has been banned for life after striking up a relationship with a 15 year-old pupil and texting her “innappropriate photographs”.
Michael John Peters, 52, a PE techer who taught at Bilton School, Rugby, was banned by education Secretary of State Michael Gove for what the Teaching Agency described as an “unacceptable relationship” with a female pupil during 2004-05. The agency, which is the UK’s teachers’ disciplinary body, found Peters guilty of “unacceptable professional conduct”.
The allegations came to light during a criminal prosecution in which Peters was acquitted of a sexual offence.
In addition, the Teaching Agency panel also found the teacher failed to take reasonable steps to ensure her safety and wellbeing by failing to share information about her with appropriate colleagues.
The panel said he was aware of the fact that the girl was suffering from issues related to low self-esteem and depression. It found an additional allegation that he allowed her to visit him at his home not proved.
Recommending the prohibition order, the agency said: “Mr Peters engaged in a course of communications with the pupil that was inappropriate.
“On his own account a vulnerable pupil came to him for assistance and rather than addressing the matter through the proper channels he entered into protracted personal contact on the telephone and via text messages which included the exchange of inappropriate photographs.
“Indeed he appears to have recognised that his actions were not entirely appropriate by at first denying that he had given his mobile telephone number to the pupil and then, without explanation, confirming at the Crown Court that he had done so.”
Alan Meyrick, deputy director of the Teaching Agency, said: “Mr Peters’ case is a very serious one. It involved a serious breach of trust, over time, with a vulnerable pupil.
“Rather than seek to provide appropriate support Mr Peters entered into an inappropriate relationship with the pupil. He also failed to share relevant information with others that would have assisted the pupil at a time of need. Mr Peters’ behaviour and conduct fell seriously short of that expected of a teacher. I therefore support the recommendation of the Panel that Mr Peters should be prohibited.”
He added: “Having taken into account the deliberate and sustained nature of the misconduct, and the apparent failure to address the failings that led to that, I also support the recommendation that there be no review period.
“In view of the seriousness of the allegations found proved against him, I have decided that Mr Michael Peters shall not be entitled to apply for restoration of his eligibility to teach.”
The decision means that Peters is prohibited from teaching indefinitely in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.
He has a right of appeal to the High Court.