A FORMER teacher at The Hastings Academy who engaged in inappropriate relationships with two pupils at his previous school, kissing them both, has been banned from teaching.
In a decision announced on Wednesday, Education Secretary Michael Gove issued a Prohibition Order banning Thomas Carter, 27, from teaching for at least three years. He found Carter guilty of ‘unacceptable professional conduct’ while employed at Borden Grammar School, Sittingbourne, Kent in 2009 and 2011.
The full extent of Carter’s activity only became known though after he had moved to The Hastings Academy in September last year.
Carter admitted engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a Year 13 pupil at Borden Grammar in 2009, which included texting her, emailing her and meeting her on the evening that she left the school, for which he received a first written warning.
He also admitted an inappropriate relationship with a Year 12 pupil in 2011 at the same school. This included texting her, emailing her and meeting her on school premises where ‘inappropriate physical contact’ took place.
Carter had claimed that the incidents took place during a period of very significant personal strain following the death of his parents and his separation from his partner and young daughter, which caused him to lose his sense of judgment and decency.
Giving the decision on behalf of the Secretary of State, Teaching Agency deputy director Alan Meyrick said: “Mr Carter’s behaviour represents a clear breach of the standards expected of the teaching profession. Moreover his behaviour appears to have continued despite clear warnings being given. The mitigation offered by Mr Carter has been taken into account but does not excuse such behaviour. Mr Carter’s admissions recognise that his behaviour is unacceptable.”
The decision means that Carter is prohibited from teaching in any school, college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.
He cannot apply for the Prohibition Order to be set aside until September 17, 2015, and, if he does so, he will have to persuade a panel that he is fit to return to teaching.
He has a right of appeal to the High Court.
A spokesman for the Hastings Academies Trust said: “Mr Carter came to the Hastings Academy with full and supportive references. We were informed of the first case of Mr Carter’s misconduct by his previous employers who took the view that this was an aberration in an otherwise unblemished career.
“When the second case at his previous place of employment was brought to our attention we immediately held a disciplinary hearing and Mr Carter was issued with a final warning.
“Mr Carter’s professional conduct was closely monitored and during this time he made what, in our view, were errors of judgement amounting to professional misconduct. He was immediately suspended and he subsequently resigned his position at the academy. The academy’s disciplinary hearing to consider this alleged misconduct is scheduled for September 28.
“At no time have students been at risk. The trust’s paramount concern is and will remain the well-being and safety of the children, and with maintaining the highest professional standards among our teaching staff.”