AN education boss has said everyone involved in the investigation of a teacher who abused schoolchildren acted “entirely appropriately”.

County Hall director of children’s services Jim Leivers said once the allegations surfaced the council did as much as possible to help the inquiry.

But he said it was unable to act sooner because the teacher had been secretive and deceived the school, police and his own family.

The 52-year-old teacher, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was given a four-year prison sentence at Oxford Crown Court on Thursday.

He admitted 19 counts of sexual assaults on children under 13, one count of possessing indecent photographs of children, 10 counts of taking indecent pictures of children and one count of voyeurism. He also asked for seven further sexual assaults on children under 13 to be taken into consideration.

The incidents took place between 2004 and 2010 at a South Oxfordshire primary school and involved 20 children he taught between the age of seven and 10.

In 2010, the man was given a five-year prison sentence after admitting to 23 counts of sexual assault on children under 13 and possessing 18 indecent images of children.

The offences he was sentenced for last week only came to light after he was jailed in 2010.

Mr Leivers said: “I am never satisfied when something like this happens, but I am clear in my own mind that everyone involved in this case acted entirely appropriately once these matters were brought to the attention of the police and local authority.

“We did as much as we possibly could as soon as we could once these allegations came to light, but if you do not know you cannot do anything about it.”

He said the man had not only deceived the school, social services and police but also silenced the children and deceived his own family.

Mr Leivers said: “We have proper safe guarding measures in place and they do act to safe guard children, and act well to safe guard children, but faced with a cunning and clever man doing these things it becomes a really, really difficult issue and we have to ensure we are more clever.

“I have done this job 40 years and I would never say never, but we are doing everything we can to make sure it does not happen again.”