A schoolteacher sacked by a Preston school for asking pupils about their sex lives via social media has been banned from the country’s classrooms for at least two years.
Science tutor Stephen Griffiths, 36, was found guilty of unacceptable conduct by a disciplinary panel, following allegations made against him while he was teaching at Fulwood Academy.
He spent two years teaching chemistry, general science and BTEC science at the Black Bull Lane academy between September 2010 and November 2012.
The findings of the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) panel said that it came to the attention of the then-director of standards at the academy in August 2012, that it had been reported that Mr Griffiths had contact with a student via a social networking site.
The findings stated: “Evidence was then received from Student C that Mr Griffiths had added him as a friend on Facebook on June 14, 2012 and had then sent him a number of messages.
“Student C would have been in Year 11 at that time.
“Subsequently, information was also obtained from students A, B, D and E.”
Griffiths also admitted giving his mobile phone number to one of the students and asking Student E to text him.
He was suspended by the school and faced a disciplinary hearing, which took place on 8 November 2012 and which resulted in him being sacked.
The panel found that Griffiths “failed to maintain proper professional boundaries” with students by exchanging messages with them via the social networking site Facebook.
Imposing the ban, NCTL deputy director Alan Meyrick said: “He failed to uphold public trust and confidence in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour within and outside school in that he did not treat pupils with dignity, build relationships rooted in mutual respect or at all times observe proper boundaries appropriate to a teacher’s professional position.”
Stephen Henry, principal at the school, said the academy takes the safeguarding of students “very seriously” and it was recently praised by Ofsted for its “exemplary” policy.