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Struck-off teacher gave pupil presents
A TEACHER who gave a pupil heart-shaped earrings and chocolates has been banned from teaching.
Former Cherwell School business studies teacher Richard Hook, who also sent “inappropriate emails” to another pupil, was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by a disciplinary panel.
Education Secretary Michael Gove issued a prohibition order banning Mr Hook from teaching for at least three years after the investigation.
The Teaching Agency was called to look at Mr Hook’s conduct when he worked at the North Oxford school between September 2009 and July 2010.
During the 2009 Christmas period, Mr Hook, who is 27, visited a pupil outside school hours and gave her a present including heart-shaped earrings, chocolates and a note.
He sent a second pupil “inappropriate” emails from his school and personal email account, got her mobile phone number from another pupil and sent her text messages.
He visited her during her work experience placement more than once and asked her to meet him outside of school.
The panel concluded Mr Hook failed to maintain appropriate boundaries in his relationships with pupils, and joined in with pupils looking at images of women on the internet saying: “Yeah I’d s*** that.”
It said he behaved in a manner contrary to guidance issued to him by the then headteacher Neal Mc-Gowan about contacting pupils outside school hours and socialising with students in the sixth-form study area.
Mr Hook, who resigned from the school with effect from August 31, 2010, admitted the allegations.
The panel said his actions had “the potential to undermine public confidence and the standards expected of the profession”.
It said there were no allegations that Mr Hook had acted in a manner which was sexually motivated or that he sought to groom or harm children.
The panel said: “There is no evidence that any student suffered harm or distress as a consequence of his behaviour.”
Mr Hook will be able to apply to be restored to the teaching register after August 31, 2015, when he will have to persuade a panel he is fit to return to the classroom.
Giving the decision on Mr Gove’s behalf, Paul Heathcote said: “Mr Hook engaged in behaviour across a significant period of time in which he did not maintain appropriate professional boundaries with a number of students, even after receiving clear guidance from the headteacher. The panel recommend that a prohibition order be imposed and I support that.”
Cherwell headteacher Paul James said Mr Hook left the school as a result of the issues covered by the Teaching Agency case.
He said: “The school is supportive of the decision made by the Teaching Agency, and although the events were before my time as headteacher I am confident that the issues were dealt with appropriately, and in full consultation with Oxfordshire County Council.
“I am also confident that the school is currently well placed to address the issues raised by this incident.”
Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Martin Crabtree said: “The county council was made aware of concerns by the school and provided them with support in dealing with the matter.
“We support the decision of the Teaching Agency to impose the prohibition order.
“The individual concerned is able to apply to have the prohibition lifted after three years as set out in the Teaching Agency’s adjudication.”