October 2018

Teacher BANNED for life after affair with pupil

A teacher who had an affair with a pupil and sent her sexually explicit texts has been banned from the profession.

It emerged William Turnbull had also exchanged gifts with the schoolgirl and had even bought her jewellery.

But their secret trysts were exposed after the pair were spotted arriving together at a pub.

Phone records subsequently revealed the pair had shared hundreds of texts, ranging from ‘flirty and suggestive’ messages to graphic descriptions of their sexual encounters.

Now the 41-year-old maths teacher has been found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct following a Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) hearing.

Mr Turnbull worked at The Grove School, in Market Drayton, at the time he struck up the relationship. He was suspended when the allegations came to light and was dismissed in March last year.

The TRA panel heard how he had obtained the student’s phone number and began sending her personal messages.

A witness later saw them in a town centre and also noticed them leaving school together in Mr Turnbull’s car.

Outlining its written findings, the panel said: “It is clear from the text message records that Mr Turnbull’s relationship with Pupil A involved sexual contact in addition to sexual references in text messages.

“The reference to their sexual contact is worded in such a way that it is clearly no fantasy or proposal – it is a description of what they have done together in a sexual way. It is in the past tense, which is crucial.”

The girl later denied having a sexual relationship with Mr Turnbull. But the TRA said her statement ‘contradicts the content of the text message exchanges’.

It added: “Their relationship went far beyond acceptable professional boundaries and clearly involved misconduct of a sexual nature that fell very significantly short of the standard of behaviour expected of a teacher.”

Mr Turnbull, who did not attend the disciplinary hearing and was not represented, had denied the misconduct allegations.

The TRA was told that he had worked at The Grove since 2008 and was of ‘previous good character’.

Dawn Dandy, acting on behalf of Education Secretary Damian Hinds, has now ruled that the teacher should be made subject to a prohibition order.

It means he is banned from teaching indefinitely and will not be entitled to apply to return to the classroom at a later date.

But he does have the right of appeal to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court within 28 days if he wishes to contest the order.

Ms Dandy said: “In my judgement, the absence of insight and remorse means that there is some risk of the repetition of this behaviour and this risks future safeguarding of pupils. I have therefore given this element considerable weight in reaching my decision.”

The Grove School said it had acted promptly as soon as the allegations came to light. The school confirmed Mr Turnbull has been dismissed.