A Chesterfield school has said the welfare of its pupils is “always a top priority” and that it expects “the very highest standards of conduct” - after a former teacher was banned for life for having sex with a woman colleague in a cellar and cupbaord and making a number of “inappropriate” comments to pupils.
Disgraced ex-policeman, Michael Hall, 52, was found guilty by a disciplinary panel of “unacceptable conduct” and banned for life in a decision taken on behalf of Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan.
Hall, who said he has four children, resigned in 2014 after an internal investigation was launched at the school into his activities.
Kam Grewal-Joy, headteacher at Parkside Community School, said: “The welfare of every pupil at Parkside Community School is always our top priority and we expect the very highest standards of conduct from our staff.
“We took immediate action as soon as these allegations came to light in 2013 – informing all relevant organisations to allow investigations to take place and referring the matter to the National College for Teaching and Leadership.
“Michael Hall was suspended while the matter was investigated. He resigned from his position and never returned to teach at the school.”
The public hearing heard that Hall turned to teaching after serving a 24-month jail sentence after being convicted of two theft offences in 1997 whilst in the police force - one of which included stealing a sum of £180 from a suicide victim after altering the suicide note to say the person had left £20 instead of £200. It was said that Hall failed to provide “accurate and full information” relating to his criminal convictions in the interview for the job of leader of design and technology - of which he was appointed in 2006.
The National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) panel which heard Hall’s case in Coventry found that, as well as having sex and oral sex with one colleague on the premises at the school, he had also made salacious and overtly sexual comments to other women colleagues and pupils at the school.
On a number of occasions, he was said to have made comments, of which he denied some of them, such as “pull your top down, you are not showing enough cleavage”, “the last time I saw legs like that I was in KFC”, “I’m admiring your underwear what have you got on?” and “I will climb aboard and make you squeal”.
It was also said that Hall, who was described as “touchy feely”, once put his hands on the shoulders of a girl, played with the hair of a girl and grabbed the arm of another girl.
His sexual encounters on school premises with the colleague identified in the findings only as ‘Person A’ were said to have taken place “regularly.”
The findings say that the woman confided in another colleague “that she was having a sexual relationship with Mr Hall in school and at her home.”
The findings continued: “She disclosed it was happening in a cupboard and in the cellar. Person A said intercourse took place in school regularly in his office/store cupboard.”
In his written submission to the National College’s case and at the hearing, Mr Hall accepted the fact of his convictions in 1997.
He says that he made disclosure to the headteacher in March/April 2006 about all matters relating to his convictions about which he was questioned. The meetings took place after he had commenced employment at the school.
Hall said that he was given a formal warning and was advised the matter was closed. He denied that the convictions are relevant to his fitness to be a teacher.
In relation to his conduct towards students, Mr Hall admitted he made some of the comments particularised but says at all times he was engaging in “light hearted banter” which was “generally well received by many students”. He pointed to the statements of other witnesses “who make no criticism of the way he conducted himself in class.”
Imposing the ban on him Alan Meyrick, deputy director of the (NCTL), said it was a serious case.
He said: “Mr Hall has :
- Misrepresented to his headteacher the full extent and nature of his criminal convictions in order to preserve his job;
- Been involved in making unacceptable personal comments made to students in class;
- Been involved in unjustified physical contact with students in a variety of circumstances;
Been involved in physical contact and making remarks to female members of staff which were unacceptable, caused offence and amounted to sexual harassment;
- Been involved in sexual activity with a member of staff on School premises, in School time on a number of occasions.
Mr Meyrick said that in imposing the life time ban he had taken into account Hall’s : serious departure from personal and professional conduct standards; sexual misconduct; violation of the rights of pupils; deliberate behaviour that undermined pupils and the profession, the school or colleagues.
He added that Hall had shown “no insight into the gravity of his behaviour, its impact on others affected by it and the public perception of how a teacher is expected to conduct himself professionally.”