Eastbourne teacher sex case under spotlight

Teacher Jeremy Forrest arriving at Lewes Crown Court where he is accused of abducting a pupil. Forrest, 30, was arrested in Bordeaux, France, on September 28 last year following the issuing of a European Arrest Warrant. ENGSUS00320130919162453
Teacher Jeremy Forrest arriving at Lewes Crown Court where he is accused of abducting a pupil. Forrest, 30, was arrested in Bordeaux, France, on September 28 last year following the issuing of a European Arrest Warrant. ENGSUS00320130919162453
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An education watchdog will next week analyse the shortcomings at Bishop Bell School in the run up to the affair between teacher Jeremy Forrest and a teenage pupil.

Maths teacher Forrest was jailed for five and a half years in June 2013 for abducting the 15-year-old girl and five charges of sexual activity with a child. He is due to be released from prison within weeks.

A serious case review was published in to the relationship between the two, and the consequent abduction to France, and East Sussex County Council’s children’s services scrutiny committee will consider the report at a meeting on Monday (June 15).

The serious case review highlighted lessons to be learnt from the whole saga including that schools in future should recognise abuse, listen to children, work with parents and improve e safety.

Forrest ran away to Bordeaux in France, with the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in September 2012, fearing their sexual relationship, which had been going on for some months, was about to be exposed.

They were eventually caught, Forrest was extradited and pleaded not guilty to the charges at his trial but was convicted.

The girl later spoke publicly about her affair and her mother wrote a book.

The report encourages members of the scrutiny committee to make note of the review’s findings from the Forrest case and its author says key recommendations should be used in staff training and development in schools generally so it does not happen elsewhere.

The report deals with problems with staff recognising a teacher as a potential abuser and lack of conversations with the victim.

The report says a number of pupils had noticed a relationship developing between Forrest and the girl but that no one approached the child or her parents.

In a summary of recommendations the report’s author said schools generally should demonstrate understanding of safeguarding issues and how to respond to them including parental involvement; arrangements for support and supervision of staff with specialist child protection responsibilities; and compliance with arrangements for recording safeguarding concerns and actions taken in response to such concerns.