A Chesterfield teacher has been banned from the country’s classrooms for life after being found guilty by a teachers’ disciplinary panel of a string of incidents which included talking dirty to pupils, touching them and dishonesty.
The Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) panel ruled at a hearing in Coventry that Mark Rodda, 36, who was a science teacher at Brookfield Community School, was guilty of “unacceptable professional conduct” for which he had shown no remorse and had not apologised.
Now in a ruling by Alan Meyrick, deputy director of the TRA, on behalf of the Education Secretary, Mr Rodda has been banned from ever teaching again. In some cases teachers are given the opportunity to seek to have disciplinary bans lifted after a set period of time.
But in this case Mr Meyrick said in refusing to leave the way open for such a move: “I consider that allowing for no review period is required to satisfy the maintenance of public confidence in the profession.”
He said: “Mr Rodda has not, to the panel’s knowledge, shown remorse or regret for his behaviour. He has also not (so far as the panel is aware) apologised for his behaviour. Instead, he has sought to defend the actions the panel has found proven.
“In my judgement the lack of insight means that there is some risk of the repetition of this behaviour and this risks the future wellbeing of pupils. I have therefore given this element considerable weight in reaching my decision.”
The long string of complaints against Mr Rodda, who taught at the school from January to May last year were that he had: massaged pupils’ shoulders, backs or necks; touched their hair; and put his arms around them.
He was also found to have made lewd comments in the classroom such as: size does matter and all boys know it; it must be my age, I can’t get it up; what I do with my partner is not what I’d do to a student; are you tired from watching too much porn; telling a pupil he had “not hit puberty”; and saying “there’s nothing there” when referring to a student’s genital area.
It was also found that he had asked one student “are you going to spit or swallow” and told another he was going to “snap his neck.”
And the panel found that he had been dishonest when applying for the job at Brookfield. He had not told them he resigned from his last school shortly before a disciplinary hearing relating to his conduct.
The findings say that the panel was told by pupils that they “felt uncomfortable” and were “shocked” by his behaviour in class.
And they add: “One pupil in particular said that she had never seen any other teacher behave in such a way.”
His actions have had a detrimental and negative effect on pupils say the findings.
In imposing the ban Mr Meyrick said: “I have therefore myself considered whether allowing for no review period reflects the seriousness of the findings and is a proportionate period to achieve the aim of maintaining public confidence in the profession. In this case, there are three factors that in my view mean that a no review order is necessary. These elements are the dishonesty found, the lack of either insight or remorse, and the repeated behavioural pattern.”
Mr Rodda has the right to mount a High Court challenge to the ban and the findings.