The Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal has censured a teacher and ordered his de-registration for serious misconduct after he developed an inappropriate and sexually intimate relationship with a year 13 student.

The media applied to the Tribunal for an order allowing it to publish the name of the teacher, school and the nature of the relationship between the principal and the teacher.

The Tribunal has rejected the application stating that the teacher poses a minimal threat despite media assertions that young women of a similar age to the student are at risk because of his involvement with a local drama league. The Tribunal found that the teacher’s last involvement with the group was some months ago and that he had resigned his membership. The Tribunal also rejected arguments that the public has the right to be forewarned of the risk that the teacher poses in order for them to take precautionary steps on the basis that this reasoning could be applied to any teacher who presented a threat to society.

The Tribunal highlighted that the application was opposed by the teacher, the student, the school and the CAC who felt that it was not in the public’s interest for more details about the matter to be revealed. The student thought that the application was unreasonable as the teacher had committed no crime and posed, in her view, no threat to a third party. The Tribunal considered that her views should be held in high regard.

The Tribunal was also concerned by the information released in the previous Tribunal’s decision which had disclosed that the student had babysat for the teacher and his wife. The Tribunal felt that together with the additional information which the media sought to release someone who was sufficiently close to the case could identify the student.

This case was decided under the previous rules preventing publication which have now changed to make publication the default position. This case may have been decided differently under the new rules.


Alan Knowsley

Education Lawyer