March 14, 2022 2.45 pm

North Hykeham teacher banned from profession for life after child sex offences

Nearly 8,000 images and sexual activity with a child under 13

A man has been banned from teaching for life after being found guilty of taking/possessing nearly 8,000 indecent images of children and engaging in sexual activity with a boy under 13.

Richard Ashley, 59, a former science teacher at North Kesteven Academy from September 2013 to September 2016, was found guilty of eight offences in August 2020.

They included six offences of taking or making indecent images of children and two of sexual activity with a boy under 13. He was given a two-year suspended prison sentence and must sign the sex offenders register for 10 years.

A Professional Conduct Panel meeting on behalf of the Secretary of State has now banned him from teaching indefinitely, meaning he cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England and cannot apply for that to be revoked at a later date.

A report around the decision said the panel “was satisfied that the conduct of Mr Ashley was wholly contrary to the standards expected of the teaching profession, and [his] conduct was at the more serious end of the spectrum”.

The report said the offences took place between 2008 and 2016 and were “outside of the school setting” but added: “The behaviour involved in committing the offences could have had an impact on the safety or security of pupils and/or members of the public.”

A total of 7,767 indecent images were found on devices belonging to Mr Ashley and the offences included taking photos or filming while camping at a nudist site in France.

“Public confidence in the profession could be seriously weakened if conduct such as that found against Mr Ashley were not treated with the utmost seriousness when regulating the conduct of the profession,” said the report.

The panel had not received any mitigation from Mr Ashley, and said despite sentencing remarks by the judge, the panel was “not provided with any evidence in respect of Mr Ashley’s insight or remorse in respect of his conduct”.

“There was no evidence that Mr Ashley’s actions were not deliberate. There was no evidence to suggest that Mr Ashley was acting under extreme duress, and, in fact, the panel found Mr Ashley’s actions to be calculated and motivated.”

North Kesteven Academy has been contacted for a comment.