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Wednesday, 17 July 2013 (3040787)
Former Birkdale teacher banned from the classroom over inappropriate behavior
by Ollie Cowan

A TEACHER at a Southport primary school has been banned from the country’s classrooms for at least two years for failing to maintain proper boundaries with pupils and boosting pupils' scores in important exams.

The ban was announced on behalf of Education Secretary, Michael Gove, after a disciplinary finding that Colin Hill, 41, was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership professional conduct panel found that Hill behaved inappropriately towards children at Birkdale Primary school between January and June 2011 despite warnings from the head teacher in January and March 2011.

The tribunal findings say that he was warned about allowing pupils to sit on his knee but despite the warning continued to allow them to.

He was also said to have told a girl pupil to write “I love Mr Hill” on her hand during a school disco in March 2011.

And he had boosted the progress his class was making by amending Key Stage 1 assessment total scores for up to seven pupils in two Year 2 classes.

The findings continue: “The panel is satisfied that on the balance of probabilities the actions of Mr Hill would be regarded as dishonest according to the standards of reasonable and honest people.

”The panel is satisfied that Mr Hill must have realised that his actions were dishonest.

“The panel has found proven that Mr Hill behaved inappropriately towards pupils and that he acted dishonestly in the amending of the total scores for the pupils named. He showed disregard for the ethos and policies of the school.

”The panel is satisfied that Mr Hill's behaviour has fallen significantly and seriously short of the conduct expected of a teacher; and is conduct which may bring the profession into disrepute.“

However, the panel recommended that Mr Hill should be entitled to have the ban reviewed after two years. The findings say he was of previous good character and that there was no evidence of a deep seated attitude that could lead to harmful behaviour.

A spokesman for Sefton Council said: ”As soon as this came to light this member of staff was immediately suspended and later resigned without returning to work at the school. The matter was then referred to the appropriate national agencies.

“During this process we believe we have properly followed all child protection and disciplinary procedures as set out by national guidelines.”

Giving the final decision on behalf of the Secretary of State, Paul Heathcote said: “The Panel have found proven that Mr Hill behaved inappropriately towards children at Birkdale Primary School. They have also found proven that he amended assessment scores and in so doing acted dishonestly.

”Teachers have a duty to maintain and uphold appropriate professional boundaries with pupils. They must also maintain high standards of integrity with regard to the proper and honest conduct of assessment procedures.

“I agree with the Panel’s recommendation that a Prohibition Order is both proportionate and appropriate.”

The decision means that Hill is prohibited from teaching in any school, Sixth Form College, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.

He may apply for the Prohibition Order to be set aside, but not until July 2015, and if he does so will have to persuade a panel that he is fit to return to the classroom.

Hall has a right of appeal to the High Court.


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