A HEREFORDSHIRE teacher who sent sex pictures and messages to former pupils via Facebook and other social media has been banned from the country’s classrooms for life.

The ban follows a Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) disciplinary hearing in Coventry which was told that Oliver Paton, 32, sent an image of a penis to a former pupil accompanied by a lewd suggestion.

Another message included an image of a penis partially obscured by an emoji.

Mr Paton, who taught at John Masefield High School Sixth Form Centre, Ledbury, from September 2015 until he resigned in October 2018 admitted the following:

  • Sexually motivated conduct
  • Failing to maintain appropriate professional boundaries with ex pupils
  • Following or friending them on social media platforms
  • Sending them photographs/images of a sexual nature Sending them messages of a sexual nature Acting as he did despite a warning from the school
  • And that he was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct which could bring the teaching profession into disrepute.

The TRA panel in its findings said concern over his behaviour was first raised in 2016 when the mother of an ex-pupil reported to a member of staff that Mr Paton had contacted her daughter and used language which she considered inappropriate.

A disciplinary meeting was held at the school after which he was warned about his behaviour. However, the findings said that despite this he went on to send the penis image messages and the others.

The findings said he admitted that his conduct as described in the allegations was “sexually motivated on the basis that it was in pursuit of sexual gratification.”

“The panel was satisfied that the actions of Mr Paton amounted to misconduct of a serious nature, which fell significantly short of the standards of behaviour expected of the profession.”

In many TRA findings against teachers the disciplinary panels recommend that the teacher, although banned indefinitely, should be allowed to seek to have the ban lifted after a set period of time if they can prove to another TRA panel they are fit to return to teaching.

However, after referring to the sexually motivated conduct of Mr Paton; the “graphic nature of the images” and the associated comments, which were “grossly offensive”, they recommended he should be permanently banned.

Imposing the ban on behalf of the Education Secretary, TRA decision maker Dawn Dandy agreed saying that a ban was “proportionate and in the public interest.”

She continued: “I agree with the panel and consider that in light of the sexual misconduct found, the fact this misconduct was repeated despite a warning and the lack of full remorse and insight. I consider that allowing for no review period is reasonably necessary to maintain public confidence and is proportionate and in the public interest.”

It is open to Mr Paton to appeal to the High Court.

We are seeking comment from John Masefield High School Sixth Form Centre.