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Market Drayton teacher banned for life after sexual relationship with pupil

By Dominic Robertson | Market Drayton | News | Published:

A Market Drayton teacher has been banned for life after having a sexual relationship with a pupil .

The Grove School in Market Drayton

William Turnbull, 41, was a maths teacher and form tutor at the Grove School.

He was issued with a 'prohibition from teaching' order after a professional conduct hearing of the Teaching Regulation Agency.

The hearing, which was not attended by Turnbull, found he had engaged in sexual activity with the pupil and met with her unsupervised outside of school.

It also concluded he had exchanged hundreds of text messages with the pupil, some of a sexual nature, had given her a necklace as a Christmas present and gave her a lift in his car on more than one occasion.

Evidence put before the hearing revealed how the former teacher had received a watercolour painting and a poem from the pupil, which were discovered by his partner in their bedroom.

The hearing was told that Turnbull had admitted to police that he had met the pupil and that another pupil had seen them arrive together at a pub. The pair were also seen alone together on Shrewsbury High Street on one occasion.

Turnbull was employed at the school from 2008 to 2017. The offences all took place between May 6, 2016, and February 2, 2017.

A report detailing the findings of the panel stated: "It is clear from the text message records that Mr Turnbull's relationship with Pupil A involved sexual contact in addition to sexual references in text messages. The reference to their sexual contact is worded in such a way that it is clearly not fantasy or proposal – it is a description of what they have done together in a sexual way. It is in the past tense which is crucial."

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Deliberate

The panel concluded that Turnbull's behaviour amounted to gross misconduct and made a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds MP, that he be prevented from teaching in the future.

The report stated: "The panel though finds that although Mr Turnbull was of previous good character, his actions were entirely deliberate and so serious that a prohibition from teaching was an inevitable outcome."

A decision taken on behalf of Mr Hinds said that Turnbull must be prevented from teaching to protect pupils, particularly because of the absence of any remorse for his actions.

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The judgement stated: "I have also taken into account that the panel make no mention of evidence of insight and remorse. In my judgement the absence of insight and remorse means that there is some risk of the repetition of this behaviour and this risks future safeguarding of pupils. I have therefore given this element considerable weight in reaching my decision."

Sonia Taylor, headteacher at the Grove School, said the matter had been dealt promptly, adding: "The strong decisions made by the school at the time resulted in immediate suspension and subsequent dismissal.

"Safeguarding is the highest priority for the school and this matter was dealt with immediately as soon as it was brought to the school's attention. The outcome today represents the seriousness of the allegations."

Turnbull has a right of appeal his banning order to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court within 28 days.

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