February 2018

Teacher banned from classroom over sexually explicit messages

A Manchester teacher who sent sexually explicit messages online has been banned from the classroom.

Dr Andrew Preston, 50, taught Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester which has been shaken by historic claims of sexual abuse in recent years.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) found Dr Preston had sexually graphic conversations online in which he talked about his fantasies about young girls having sex.

The maths teacher said he was aroused during a discussion about underage sex on the internet during October and November 2013.

He was asked by anonymous user ‘Pure.filth93’ whether he talked about underage sex with other people during a 45-minute sexually explicit conversation.

The messages emerged following Dr Preston’s arrest on suspicion of attempting to possess an indecent image of a child in May 2014. His case was not pursued by the police, but the information was sent to Chetham’s School of Music.

At a conduct hearing held by the NCTL Dr Preston said his remarks were ‘nothing more than a benign fantasy’ and ‘mere banter’ – and he would never actually behave in the way he discussed.

The NCTL banned Dr Preston from teaching indefinitely. In a statement, it said there was “no evidence of pupils being affected or harmed by Dr Preston’s conduct” but that there “can be few more damaging considerations for a teacher than to assert, in the way that has occurred in this case, a sexual interest in children of school age.”

Dr Preston declined to comment.

The school’s former music director Michael Brewer and his ex-wife Hilary were convicted in March 2013 of indecently assaulting an ex-pupil more than 30 years ago.

Former teachers Nicholas Smith and Duncan McTier have also admitted sexual assaults against former pupils. Violin teacher Chris Ling – who was to face charges relating to his time at the school – shot himself dead in the US last year.