A teacher who sent photographs of his penis to a female colleague while working at a school in Grantham, and bombarded her with sexually inappropriate messages, has been allowed to carry on teaching.
At a disciplinary hearing in Coventry, Duncan Fielding, who taught at a school in the town and went on to become a senior member of staff, admitted sending sexually inappropriate messages to three junior staff; sending images of his penis to one of the women; and asking the same woman to send him a photograph of her breasts.
He was cleared of other similar allegations in respect of another woman, of sending a voice clip via social media of himself masturbating, of touching a woman’s breast or bottom or both at a Christmas party, and touching another woman’s bare chest or stroking her leg or both at the Christmas party.
The National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) panel found him guilty of sexually motivated, unacceptable professional behaviour which could bring the teaching profession into disrepute.
Describing the incidents Mr Fielding admitted, the findings say that he sent “a large number” of messages to the woman, to whom he also sent the photographs. They say that initially the messages were “casual” but then became “sexually inappropriate”.
The woman described one evening in November 2015 when she received a large number of messages while she was having a meal out with her partner and then received 30 to 40 messages from him over the course of that weekend. On one occasion he sent her a message asking if she wanted to see a picture of his penis and then followed it up by sending her a photograph. She then received messages asking if she had liked the picture and then another photograph.
However, although in most cases this conduct would result in a teacher being struck off, the panel recommended that Mr Fielding should be allowed to carry on teaching.
Their findings say that he had admitted the allegations found proven, he had demonstrated a great deal of insight into the fact that his behaviour was wrong and had shown genuine remorse for the impact his behaviour had on his former colleagues.
They say that he has also learned from what happened to the extent that at the school where he now teaches he avoids socialising with staff.
Given the circumstances, they say that they consider that the findings against him are punishment enough and that banning him from the country’s classrooms would deprive his pupils of “the strong skills that he is able to bring to the profession”.
They continue: “Therefore, upon having considered all of the evidence before it, the panel does not consider that imposition of a prohibition order would be necessary, appropriate, proportionate or in the public interest.”
Giving the final decision on behalf of Education Secretary Justine Greening Alan Meyrick, deputy director of the NCTL, agreed with the panel.
He said: “For these reasons, I have decided that a prohibition order is not in the public interest and that the publication of a decision in which Mr Fielding has been found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute is proportionate and in the public interest.”