Government u-turn on child-porn teacher decision

Published June 26, 2013 by JS2

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Education Secretary Michael Gove

A Yorkshire teacher who downloaded child porn will now not be able to teach again after a government U-turn.

 

Education Secretary Michael Gove made the announcement in the House of Commons this week in response to a question from Shipley MP Philip Davies.

Geoffrey Bettley was suspended from St Mary’s Catholic School in Menston, near Ilkley in December 2010, after police found nearly 200 child abuse images on his computer.

He accepted a police caution and was dismissed by the school following a disciplinary hearing in December 2011.

But the National College for Teaching and learning’s professional conduct panel later ruled the Religious Education teacher could be allowed to return to teaching after concluding he “does not represent a risk to children and young people”.

This decision was subsequently approved by a Department for Education official, causing widespread outcry – leading to Mr Davies raising it in the Commons.

Mr Davies said this new decision was a “big step forward” after earlier DfE responses had said the case had been determined but that things would be toughened up in the future.

He said: “Michael Gove went one step further today and said this man would not ever teach again and this is such a big step from where we were two weeks ago. I am absolutely delighted with this announcement. It is refreshing and unusual for a minister to stand up and say the decision he took was wrong and admit it.”

Speaking in the Commons on Monday, Mr Gove said: “It’s a very serious issue which my hon. friend was absolutely right to have raised. It is the case that Mr Bettley is not teaching and will not be teaching in future, it is also the case that the process that we arrived at for ensuring that the National College for Teaching and Learning reviewed cases was not as good as it should have been – to put it mildly.

“I don’t put the blame on anyone else’s door other than my own but one thing that I have been anxious to do following on from the Bettley case is to make sure that we have a new guidance in order to ensure that the decisions that are taken in future are appropriate to keep our children safe.”

 

Yorkshire Post

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