A TEACHER has been cleared of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year old female pupil but has been banned from teaching for making “inappropriate, derogatory or sexual remarks” to other students.
Jodie Robson was banned after a disciplinary panel found him guilty of unacceptable professional conduct while teaching at what was Ripon College between 2001 and 2011.
The secondary school has since converted to an academy as part of the Outwood Grange Academies Trust. Though the panel rejected an allegation he engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 17 year old pupil, during 2003, it found he made inappropriate, derogatory or sexual comments to and about pupils, including referring to one “in an inappropriate manner by giving him a middle name of ‘sucks’”.
Panel chairman Tony Woodward says in the National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) panel’s findings : “In his witness statement Mr Robson acknowledges that the term “sucks” was used in respect of pupil B, although he denies using it himself. On this point we prefer the account of the pupils. Using the term ‘sucks’ in respect of Pupil B in this way meant in the panel’s view the comment was sexual in nature.” It also found Robson made comments which implied that two pupils were homosexual.
Mr Woodward said: “Mr Robson in his witness statement states that pupils B and C were touching each other in class and that he told them to stop, which he said he did in part out of concern for their welfare. He says some pupils had a tendency to use the word ‘gay’ in an inappropriate manner and had suggested that pupils B and C were homosexual. He denies he made any comments in that regard himself. However, the accounts of pupils B and C given in their statements made as part of the school’s investigation are corroborated by the accounts of other pupils whose statements were taken around the same time.”
He said the panel’s view was that statements of five other pupils supported the allegation that “comments were made by Robson which implied that Pupils B and C were homosexual.”
In respect of the 2003 allegation Mr Woodward stating: “The panel was not satisfied that there is sufficiently cogent evidence before it to find this allegation proven.” Imposing the ban on behalf of the Education Secretary NCTL official Paul Heathcote said: “The conduct of Mr Robson towards pupils B and C was bullying in its nature. Teachers are seen as role models for other pupils.
“To behave towards pupils in that manner, particularly in class, presents a wholly negative role model for other pupils and in this case had the effect of presenting a negative view about homosexuality.” He said the panel also considered that Robson had an “attitudinal” problem so would currently pose a risk to pupils if he was to return to teaching immediately. He ruled Robson can seek a return to teaching in five years . He has a right of appeal to the High Court.
A statement from Outwood Grange said: “Mr Robson was employed by Ripon College prior to our involvement with the school and the allegations also predate Outwood. However, when the school joined the trust and we were made aware of these allegations, the trust immediately followed due process to safeguard students.”