|Deputy Head Banned From Teaching After Kissing Pupil|
Teacher at Ellen Wilkinson had 'inappropriate' relationship
A deputy head teacher who was also the designated child protection officer at the Ellen Wilkinson school in Acton has been banned from teaching for at least three years after kissing and hugging a sixth form pupil.
Luke Stephens, 45, who had been at the girls school since 2004, was suspended in 2013 and resigned at the end of the school year.
Following a police investigation, in 2014 he was given an adult caution for abuse of a position of trust under section 16 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
The National College for Teaching and Learning (NCTL) professional conduct panel heard that a relationship developed between the chemistry teacher and the pupil in 2012.
The panel found that Stephens had failed to maintain professional boundaries with the girl, meeting her outside of school, giving her lifts to his home and gifts. He had sent a number of ‘inappropriate’ text messages and emails, and exchanged images and poetry and also had physical contact by hugging and kissing.
Stephens admitted all of the allegations and in mitigation said the events took place when he was struggling to cope with a close relative being diagnosed with cancer and the breakdown of a relationship.
Deputy director of NCTL Alan Meyrick said:
“ It is to Mr Stephens credit that he has admitted the allegations against him. However, the panel are also clear that Mr Stephens has still to address the underlying issues behind his behaviour. I have taken into account the seriousness of the behaviour as well as the mitigation and insight put forward on behalf of Mr Stephens. On balance I consider that the panel’s recommendation is a proportionate one and I support the view that a three year review period will enable Mr Stephens to reflect on his behaviour and demonstrate that he has resolved the issues that led to it.''
The decision means Stephens is prohibited from teaching in England but may apply for the order to be set aside, in October 2017 -if he does so he will have to persuade a panel he is fit to return to the classroom
He can appeal against the panel's decision to the High Court.
Read panel decision:
7th October 2014