Shropshire teacher banned for life after relationship with sex offender

A former deputy head of a special school in Shropshire has been banned from the classroom for life after admitting a relationship with a registered sex offender.

Cecilia Rooms, 60, was the deputy safeguarding lead at Overton School in Ludlow and worked there from September 2018 until she was suspended in July 2019 after her relationship came to light.

She has now been banned from ever returning to teaching in the UK after being found by a hearing of the Teaching Regulation Authority (TRA) to have created a high risk of potential harm to children.

The TRA disciplinary panel found Ms Rooms had “demonstrated lack of judgement in relation to a man she knew had been convicted of a criminal offence for downloading and/or producing images of children and/or animals on more than once occasion".

The specific allegations were that she had: failed to disclose her ongoing personal relationship with the sex offender; had allowed him to use and/or access her work laptop; had allowed him to visit her property and/or discussed the prospect of him visiting her property at a time when a child could have been there.

In their findings the TRA panel said: “Ms Rooms admitted being aware that Individual A had a conviction in 2015, and that she was aware of the nature of the conviction, albeit by way of media reports. She also admitted she was “fully aware” that Individual A was a Registered Sex Offender.”

The panel said that the allegations “demonstrated a very serious lack of judgment on the part of Ms Rooms, which had led to a high risk of potential harm to children.”

They ruled that it amounted to “unacceptable professional conduct” that could bring the teaching profession into disrepute.

They said they were satisfied that her conduct fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession, particularly as she was a senior teacher with a specific safeguarding role.

The panel said that while she had shown some remorse for her actions, they did not consider she had shown any real insight into who she may have harmed and to what extent, or that she may have put children at risk by giving the man her work laptop at her home.

As such the panel recommended Ms Rooms should be banned for life with no provisions for appeal.

Agreeing with the recommendations and imposing the lifetime ban, TRA decision maker Sarah Buxcey said: “I consider that allowing for no review period is necessary to maintain public confidence and is proportionate and in the public interest.”

Overton School, in the outskirts of Ludlow, provides education for young people aged 11 to 18 and also has a children's home for 12 young people.

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