Girl was left embarrassed after teacher sent personal messages
A music teacher who sent a string of personal emails and text messages to a girl he taught which left her feeling embarrassed, nervous and with sleeping problems has been found guilty by a teachers’ disciplinary panel of “unacceptable professional conduct.”
But the National College of Teaching and Leadership, known as the NCTL, has ruled that despite the activities of Aaron Beeken while he was teaching at Bourne Academy, he can carry on teaching.
Mr Beeken resigned from the school in March last year after being suspended following the start of an investigation into allegations against him.
Invariably teachers found guilty of unacceptable behaviour are banned from the country’s classrooms.
But in this case the disciplinary panel, which heard the case in Coventry, ruled that the finding in itself was sufficient punishment and a ban was not necessary.
The panel’s findings say that among other things Mr Beeken had:
l wrongly contacted the girl via email and text
l had referred to “personal matters” in communications with her
l had implied there was, or might develop, a personal or special relationship between him and the girl or that she might be treated differently from other pupils
l had signed one text message with a “x”
l had quizzed in the hearing of other pupils about why she had not responded to his messages.
However, the findings say that the NCTL panel was satisfied that there was no “sexual motivation” on the part of Mr Beeken, who had joined the academy in September 2012.
He had been teacher in charge of the music department. Mr Beeken taught all key stage students who had music on their timetable from Years 7 to 13.
In not recommending that he should be struck off, the panel said it considered his behaviour was “towards the less serious end of the possible spectrum and did not amount to a sufficiently serious departure from the personal and professional conduct elements of the Teachers’ Standards to warrant a recommendation for a prohibition order”.
The findings also referred to comments before them describing him as “kind, pleasant, trustworthy, gifted, dedicated” and “a breath of fresh air” for the academy’s music department.
Backing the recommendations of the panel on behalf of the Education Secretary, Alan Meyrick, deputy director of the NCTL said that while Mr Beeken’s behaviour amounted to “unacceptable professional conduct” he also did not consider it “proportionate” to ban him from the classroom.
In a statement after the case concluded, Bourne Academy headteacher Laurence Reilly said: “The school is aware that information is now in the public domain and, having carried out its statutory duties, the school has no further comment to make about the case.
“We would like to reassure our parents that the safeguarding of all students at the school is always our number one priority.”