Sacked teacher did not disclose reasons

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A TEACHER who was sacked from an Eastbourne school for allegedly behaving inappropriately towards a girl has been banned from the classroom for six months after touching another pupil.

After being dismissed from the Eastbourne school, Jason Cunningham had moved to a school at Garforth, near Leeds.

He was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by the General Teaching Council’s Professional Conduct Committee after he ‘behaved inappropriately towards pupil A, a Year 10 student, by touching her on two occasions’.

The committee had also been told of allegations made against the teacher while working at Eastbourne.

The committee also found Mr Cunningham guilty of ‘dishonesty’ when he returned to Garforth Community College from a year’s leave of absence, during which he had taken employment as cover supervisor at Willingdon Community School.

It found that, when he returned to Garforth in April 2008 he misled the head teacher by providing false reasons regarding his dismissal from Willingdon Community School.

The committee said he was dismissed from Willingdon Community School for gross misconduct after allegations that he had behaved inappropriately towards nine Year 10 and 11 female students.

However, the committee went on to clear him of those allegations.

It said he had a ‘professional obligation’ to disclose the fact and reasons for his dismissal to Garforth, as his employers, and he was ‘dishonest’ by misleading the headteacher of Garforth as to the reasons why he left Willingdon.

It told him, “As the GTC’s Code of Conduct and Practice for Registered Teachers makes clear: teachers are required to maintain appropriate standards of honesty and integrity, and you failed do so.

“In addition, your actions in both these respects have brought the reputation and standing of the profession into serious disrepute.”

The committee said Mr Cunningham was a credible witness when discussing the Garforth incident and accepted the touching had not been sexually motivated, but had been ‘inappropriate’.

Following his six-month suspension, Mr Cunningham must show the GTC he has completed a course in child protection awareness, which addresses the maintenance of professional boundaries, before he can return to the classroom.

Mr Cunningham further has a right of appeal to the High Court within 28 days.