Teacher banned over conduct with pupil

Lady Manners School, Bakewell.
Lady Manners School, Bakewell.

A music teacher who formed an “inappropriate relationship” with a pupil at a Bakewell school has been banned from classroom teaching in England for at least five years.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership professional conduct panel has revealed this week that it has found between January 2010 and May 2011 Robert Steadman, 48, engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a student - known as Student C - which included text messages, inappropriate physical contact and a meeting in May, 2011, outside school.

Steadman was found guilty by the panel of “unacceptable professional conduct” whilst employed as a part time teacher at Lady Manners School.

Panel chairman Brian Hawkins said: “We are satisfied text messages were exchanged between Mr Steadman and Student C over a significant period and that a meeting took place in Mr Steadman’s car on 14 May, 2011.”

Steadman admitted sending texts and emails to Student C, claiming the majority had been about arranging lifts and baby sitting, according to the panel.

Mr Hawkins revealed Steadman thought he was being a supportive teacher, that Steadman knew the student should not have had his number and that comments about her showing him a new dress ‘sounds pervy out of context’.

Mr Hawkins added: “He talked about Student C saying she loved him and his response was that, ‘nothing can happen, I’m your teacher. We’re friends’.”

Steadman admitted that, in May, 2011, he met with her and drove her to a car park at the Monsal Trail, according to the panel.

He told the panel Student C said she wished Steadman was not her teacher and he admitted giving her a hug but pulled away when she tried to kiss him and there was no inappropriate touching.

The panel also found Steadman allowed Student C to borrow his school laptop which led to a claim she had discovered porn images of women on the computer which was confirmed by an investigation.

Imposing the ban on behalf of the Secretary of State, Paul Heathcote said: “Mr Steadman engaged in a sustained period of behaviour that abused the position of trust that should be maintained in a teacher-pupil relationship.”

Lady Manners headteacher Duncan Meikle said the school followed guidance and referred the matter to the panel with due regard for the safeguarding of its pupils which it regards as a priority.