Wednesday, 04 August 2021

Piggott School teacher banned for life

THE former head of maths at the Piggott School in Wargrave has been banned from teaching after admitting having a sexual relationship with one of his pupils

THE former head of maths at the Piggott School in Wargrave has been banned from teaching after admitting having a sexual relationship with one of his pupils.

Mark Wade, 58, had a two-year relationship with the sixth-form student between 2013 and 2015 while teaching at the Twyford Road school.

He was dismissed in October and has now been banned following a hearing of the National College for Teaching & Leadership’s professional conduct panel.

Mr Wade, who joined the school in 1994, admitted that he had exchanged emails and text messages with the girl, known only as Pupil A to protect her identity, and also arranged to meet her outside school on a number of occasions with her mother.

During these meetings they kissed but in 2014, by which time the girl had left Piggott, they began a sexual relationship.

Mr Wade admitted that they had sex at his house and at his holiday home in Cornwall as well as at her home.

When the girl went to university in September 2014, Mr Wade visited on three occasions before she ended the relationship two months later.

Despite agreeing not to have any further contact with her, Mr Wade sent ger a bunch of flowers on her 20th birthday as well emails including one with an online link to an article about “sugar daddies”.

He claimed she asked to meet him in March last year. Two months later, he drove past her and called out her name.

He later left her a voicemail message which he insisted had been accidental.

The student then contacted the police and Mr Wade was arrested and cautioned on July 31 for harassment.

The school carried out its own investigation before informing the NCTL.

Mr Wade claimed that the student had initiated the relationship and “wanted more” but admitted that he was in a position of trust and that “engaging in the relationship, albeit a consensual one with an adult” breached this trust.

The NCTL report said: “The panel is satisfied that the relationship with Pupil A was inappropriate as it started when she was a pupil at the school and Mr Wade had responsibility for her pastoral care.

“Furthermore, even though the panel has proceeded on the basis that the sexual relationship did not commence until August 2014, this sexual relationship developed as a result of the earlier inappropriate relationship.

“By his own admission, Mr Wade continued to try to maintain contact with Pupil A after she had made it clear that this was unwelcome.

“This resulted in the caution for harassment, although Mr Wade states that it was not his intention to harass her and that he wished to maintain a friendship.”

The report said that Mr Wade was able to develop his relationship with Pupil A because of his role as a teacher.

It said: “He was in a position of trust and the public would expect their children to be in a safe environment within a school.

“Mr Wade’s actions were deliberate and he was not acting under duress.

“The panel found that Mr Wade has shown a lack of remorse and insight.

“The panel is satisfied that the conduct of Mr Wade amounts to serious misconduct, falling significantly short of the standards expected of the profession.”

Mr Wade was banned indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, youth accommodation or children’s home in England.

He will also not be allowed to apply for restoration of his eligibility to teach. He has 28 days to appeal to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court.

In a statement to students and parents, Piggott School headteacher Derren Gray said: “At the Piggott School the safeguarding and welfare of every pupil is of paramount importance.

“Any allegation, historical or current, made against a member of staff is thoroughly and rigorously investigated.

“All and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken, where necessary, in line with school policy and the relevant legal frameworks.

“Once the school was made aware of the allegations, the member of staff was suspended and had no further contact with students.

“An investigation was undertaken and on October 23, 2015 the discipline committee of the governing body dismissed the member of staff.

“Referrals were then made to The National College for Teaching and Leadership and the Disclosure and Barring Service.

“I understand that the news will be upsetting for past and current students, staff and parents.

“Once again, I assure you that the welfare and safeguarding of our students is of paramount importance to us.”

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