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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Kirkby man banned from teaching

A FORMER teacher convicted of a string of offences has branded a decision to ban him from classrooms for life “insulting”.

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STEWART BATES

Stewart David Bates, of Gargreave, Kirkby, was banned from teaching following a Teaching Agency misconduct hearing where he faced offences dating back to 2009.

Bates had worked as a head of RE at Dowdales School, in Dalton, and also worked at Ulverston Victoria High School.

The panel heard how Bates had been found using a laptop to access personal emails, as well as an online dating site during lesson time – but claimed it was no different to photocopying.

He had also been convicted of motoring offences, including drink driving, driving without due care and attention, driving without insurance and driving while disqualified.

The panel was also told how in 2010 Bates conducted an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl, who had been a former pupil.

In 2011, he was given a six-week jail term after being found guilty of a common assault charge that dated back to July 16, 2010.

The panel issued the lifetime ban which prevents him from teaching in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.

Bates was described by the panel as a “charismatic” teacher with an unblemished 20-year career, until 2009.

He was also described as an “outstanding” teacher by Ofsted in two inspections.

Bates, 63, told the Evening Mail yesterday he was “85 per cent” innocent and said the motoring offences and the relationship with the 16-year-old happened when he was not a teacher.

He said: “It’s insulting.

“This judgement does not accept the mitigating circumstances – it doesn’t accept a career as an excellent teacher, a career I loved. I have been through this so many times over the past four years, I have served time.

“It has been very difficult and it has made things with my family very difficult.”

An employment tribunal found Bates had been unfairly dismissed from Dowdales School in 2009, which he claims put him on a downward spiral where he lost “self respect and self esteem”.

He said: “At 59, if you are unfairly dismissed, it pushes you over the edge.

“In July 2010, I hadn’t been proven innocent. I was still going downhill.

“At the time of some of these offences I hadn’t been a teacher for 18 months. I was just a man.

“We had consensual sex. She was of age, there is no question.

“The likelihood of me teaching again was impossible but I had hoped to work as a supply teacher.”

In its final report, the Teaching Agency panel said: “The panel has found that Mr Bates is guilty of both unacceptable professional conduct and relevant criminal convictions.

“Mr Bates’ misconduct was of a serious nature and brings the profession into disrepute.

“It is behaviour that does not uphold the reputation of the profession.

“The convictions that Mr Bates has are serious and involve an abuse of trust.

“The driving convictions represent a deliberate decision to drive whilst uninsured.

“There is a pattern of misconduct here and even in the absence of a particular incident or conviction, that pattern amounts to a serious failing to meet the standards expected of a teacher.”

The panel has ruled that Bates is ineligible to apply to have the ban lifted, due to the severity of his misconduct.

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