March 21, 2022 8.19 am

Northern Lincolnshire teachers banned from profession

Incidents include taking sexual advantage of pupils

By Local Democracy Reporter

Teachers are vital role models in the lives of the young people that they educate and shape.

Most take this responsibility with the utmost seriousness, but a small number have abused their powers.

These awful incidents include taking sexual advantage of pupils, using unnecessary force, changing exam results and starting inappropriate relationships.

The Teaching Regulation Agency is forced to step in under these circumstances to consider whether they are fit to continue working.

Its aim is to maintain the public’s trust in educators.

These are some of the incidents in recent years in which northern Lincolnshire teachers have been banned from the profession.

Michael McCarthy

A Grimsby teacher was struck off for an historic sexual relationship with a pupil 30 years before.

Michael McCarthy had sex with a 13-year-old girl around 1990 after he had given her alcohol at his house.

His conduct led to him being banned from teaching for life in 2016, when he was aged 55.

The panel heard how he gave the girl favours such as higher grades in private, but encouraged other pupils to bully her in public.

He also had sex with a 16-year-old girl and kissed her on school grounds.

The school where he taught at wasn’t named in the report.

The hearing concluded: “The panel is satisfied that the conduct of Mr McCarthy, which included amongst other things, sexual activity with a thirteen year old pupil and dishonest omission of significant details from a teaching application, fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession.”

Mark Thompson

A Scunthorpe teacher called a former pupil ‘his little slut’ and ‘his puppet’ when he started a sexual relationship with her.

Mark Thompson, 31 at the time of the report, was banned last year from teaching for life.

The former St Bede’s Catholic Voluntary Academy teacher, first approached the girl on Snapchat in 2018 and began exchanging sexual pictures and messages within a week.

The pair began having sex over the next few months, although he pressured her to keep it secret.

The pupil bravely gave evidence to the panel, saying she had “liked” Mr Thompson during the relationship, but looking back now “hated him”.

He had forced her to use language which made her uncomfortable, such as calling him “Sir”.

An investigation was launched in 2019, and he resigned from his position as a maths teacher.

The panel said that his witness statement “demonstrated a categorical lack of insight into his actions, and nor did it suggest appreciation as to how his behaviour may have affected Pupil A, his colleagues at the Academy or the wider community.”

It said his behaviour was at the “most extreme end of the seriousness spectrum”.

Kevin Cooper

A Grimsby teacher shared a bed with a student and hoped to start a relationship with her once she left school.

Kevin Cooper, 51 at the time he was struck off in 2018, taught at St James School until he was suspended.

The geography teacher had contacted the girl on social media and visited London with her, where they shared a hotel bed for three nights.

The student said there was no sexual contact between them.

However, the panel said Mr Cooper’s own statement flew in the face of denials that he was sexually-motivated.

“My intention was always to remain utterly professional – once it became clear that she felt as strongly for me as I did for her, I harboured the hope that after leaving the school, we might enter a romantic relationship,” Mr Cooper said.

The panel concluded: “Mr Cooper was sexually motivated in his pursuit of an inappropriate relationship with a pupil, and as such this was serious sexual misconduct.

“In a separate incident, Mr Cooper was convicted of assault.”

Mr Cooper was suspended from the school, and has been banned for teaching from life.

Michael Harrison

A science teacher was banned from teaching over sexual remarks he made to teenage students about their appearances.

Michael Harrison, 47 at the time of the report in 2017, also took pictures of students on his phone and bought them chocolates.

The pupils were aged between 13 and 16 years old at the time.

He was suspended from Oasis Academy Wintringham in 2015 following an investigation.

The panel was told Mr Harrison told various female pupils that they were “beautiful”, “really pretty” and had “a nice figure”.

Severe errors were also found in his marking of exam papers.

The panel said school investigators found “significant inaccuracies” in 90 per cent of one year’s Independent School Assessment papers that he marked.

Mr Harrison’s behaviour had been “dishonest” and his misconduct “seriously affected the education of pupils”, it concluded.

The Teaching Regulation Agency issued an order banning him for teaching indefinitely, although he could reapply after four years.

Sarah Brown

A headteacher was banned indefinitely after pinning a pupil down for 30 minutes.

Sarah Brown of Burton-upon-Stather primary school was found to have used “unnecessary force” during the incident, which distressed the pupil.

The teacher was 50 when she was struck off in 2021.

Despite several supportive testimonials and a Community Champion Award for Anti-Bullying, the panel found that she had breached accepted teaching standards.

Another allegation that a pupil had been left unsupervised outside a classroom for three hours was also found to have been proven.

Mrs Brown had been headteacher at the school from 2013 to 2018.

The panel was told that she breached professional standards in a number of instances.

She was found to have taken a pupil out for a Happy Meal and visit to the park and shops after they had experienced a trauma.

Mrs Brown also made payment for overtime which had either not been worked or did not comply with school policies.

Charges to recruitment of staff were also found to be in breach of professional standards.

The panel concluded: “Mrs Brown is in breach of the following standards. Teachers uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school, by treating pupils with dignity, building relationships rooted in mutual respect, and at all times observing proper boundaries appropriate to a teacher’s professional position.”

It added: “In restraining Pupil A in the way that she did and for the length of time of the application of the restraint, she used unnecessary force and caused distress to Pupil A. This conduct was a serious breach of what was appropriate in the circumstances.”