Wellingborough teacher wrote love letter to pupil

A 60-year-old teacher has been banned from the country's classrooms indefinitely over his amorous advances to a teenage girl.

Thursday, 9th August 2018, 12:01 pm
Updated Friday, 31st August 2018, 5:27 pm
Wrenn Academy.

Simon Pratt, who taught at the Wrenn Academy in Wellingborough, was found guilty by a teachers’ disciplinary panel of sexually motivated conduct.

The Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) panel which heard the case in Coventry was told that in a “lengthy” letter to the girl, who was over 16, Mr Pratt said she had “always been in my heart” and that he wanted to touch, snuggle and kiss her.

He also referred to her eyes, lips, skin, legs and clothing and stated that he was in love with her.

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The panel ruled that his letter was “highly inappropriate in both tone and content” and was “sexually motivated.”

The findings say: “The letter amounts to a declaration of love and appreciation of the girl.

“Whilst there are no explicit sexual references, the panel was satisfied that elements of the letter are sexualised in nature, and indeed numerous references are made to his desire to touch and kiss the girl.

“Mr Pratt also refers to the “thrill” of imagining touching the girl’s hair, and to his dreams of kissing her.”

They say the panel was satisfied there were numerous references in the letter which illustrate Mr Pratt’s sexualised thoughts towards the girl and that, whilst there is no evidence that he directly propositioned her or intended to do so they were satisfied that on the balance of probabilities that his actions were sexually motivated.

He was also said to have asked the girl to delete emails he sent her and to have set up a new email address for her which could be kept secret.

They say that he was guilty of misconduct of a serious nature which fell significantly short of the standards expected of the teaching profession and that it amounted to “unacceptable professional conduct” which could bring the profession into disrepute.

As a result, they said that they considered that striking him off would be both “proportionate and appropriate.”

They were satisfied his actions demonstrated a “lack of integrity” and a “betrayal of trust.”

Imposing the ban on behalf of Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, TRA decision maker Dawn Dandy said she considered the ban was in the public interest.

However, she left the way open for Mr Pratt to return to teaching.

She ruled that after two years he could seek to have the ban lifted.

But she stressed that it would not be lifted automatically and that he would have to convince another TRA panel that he was fit to return to the classroom.