A former staff member at a Skegness school who is in an on-going sexual relationship with a student has been banned indefinitely from the country’s classrooms.
Jonathan Bath, 32, who joined the teaching staff at Skegness Academy – formerly St Clements College – in 2010 as an ‘Instructor of Business Studies’, was found guilty by a disciplinary panel of unacceptable professional conduct over his ‘sexually motivated’ relationship with the female student.
The National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) disciplinary panel said that at all times the student (identified only as Pupil A), with whom the relationship is still continuing, was over 18 and an adult.
The findings say the ‘inappropriate relationship’ with the sixth form student began between 2013 and 2014 and that at the time of the hearing in Coventry on March 23 it was still continuing.
They say that Mr Bath, who was suspended from the school in May last year and who resigned days later, admits that his conduct was sexually motivated and that it was ‘unacceptable professional conduct’.
They continue: “Mr Bath’s conduct can properly be viewed as outside the education setting, the panel is satisfied that it does amount to conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.”
They add that he admitted that he ‘knew or ought to have known that his conduct was an abuse of his position of trust’.
But they say: “The panel has also considered the evidence of Pupil A herself. Pupil A has indicated that she has suffered no harm as a result of the relationship with Mr Bath, quite the contrary.
“Pupil A was an adult throughout the events giving rise to the allegations and her evidence to the panel shows a significant level of maturity. Notwithstanding this, the panel is wary of placing too much weight on the evidence of Pupil A, given the student-teacher relationship that existed between them.”
They continue: “It is clear to the panel that Mr Bath is guilty of sexual misconduct and indeed the panel has already found that some of Mr Bath’s conduct was sexually motivated.
“In terms of harm, Pupil A, who is an adult (and was at the time), has given evidence that she has suffered no harm as a result of the relationship with Mr Bath, indeed she is very positive about her relationship with Mr Bath, which, at the time of the hearing, continues.”
Nevertheless, they recommended that he should be banned.
Imposing what he described as an ‘indefinite’ ban on behalf of Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, but with the opportunity for Mr Bath to seek to have it lifted after five years, NCTL official Paul Heathcote said: Mr Bath had a previously good history and admitted his misconduct from the outset, resigning almost immediately.
“The panel is persuaded that Mr Bath has developed insight into his actions and he has shown remorse. Pupil A has been clear that she has suffered no harm as a result of the relationship and she was aged 18 or over throughout the alleged events.
“In all the circumstances I agree with the panel’s recommendations that it is both appropriate and proportionate for Mr Bath to be prohibited from teaching, but that he should be allowed to apply to have the order set aside after a minimum period of five years has elapsed.”
Mr Heathcote stressed that the ban will not be automatically lifted after five years and that Mr Bath will have to go before another NCTL panel if he wants to return to teaching.
Mr Bath has the right to appeal to the High Court.