Ban for former Piggott School teacher who had relationship with pupil

Reporter:

Will Taylor

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Pupils’ safeguarding and wellbeing is of ‘paramount importance’, the Piggott School’s headteacher has said, after the former head of maths was banned from teaching indefinitely following an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student.

Mark Wade, 58, who is no longer employed by the school in Twyford Road, Wargrave, appeared before a professional conduct panel convened by the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

In its report, published on Friday, the panel said it was satisfied Wade had engaged in unacceptable professional conduct.

He had faced allegations of establishing a relationship with the pupil, engaging in a sexual relationship with her, and accepting a police caution for harassment of the pupil in July 2015.

He was banned from teaching in ‘any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England’ indefinitely.

Derren Gray, the headteacher of Piggott School, said: “Any allegation, historical or current, made against a member of staff is thoroughly and rigorously investigated.”

He said the panel’s findings were based on the school’s internal investigation, which had needed to remain confidential until the panel had reached its decision.

He added: “It is important to note that the panel found no fault with the school.”

The panel heard Wade, who had been employed by the school from 1994, kissed the pupil on a number of occasions outside school in or around October 2013, which was consensual.

He engaged in a sexual relationship with her by August 2014, when she was 19, though the panel accepted she may not have been a pupil by then.

She went to university in September 2014, after which they met three times before the pupil ended the relationship in November of that year.

The two met again in January last year when Wade agreed not to contact her, but in March last year he sent her flowers and around July 2015 he sent her an article on ‘sugar daddies’.

That same month, he called out to her as he drove past her and left a voicemail on her phone, which he said was unintentional. He was arrested and cautioned on Friday, July 31 last year, and has not had contact with the pupil since.

On Friday, October 23, Wade was dismissed by the disciplinary committee of the school’s governing body, and referred to the National College.

Wade appeared before the conduct panel on Tuesday, August 23 and a decision was made on Thursday, August 25.

He was given 28 days to appeal to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court.

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