John Tomsett not guilty of unacceptable professional conduct

A leading headteacher who had a sexual relationship with a former pupil has been found not guilty of unacceptable professional conduct, but may have brought the teaching profession into disrepute, a teacher misconduct panel has ruled.

John Tomsett appeared in front of a Teacher Regulation Agency panel this week to face allegations said to have taken place between 1990 and 1992, when he was employed as a teacher at Eastbourne Sixth Form College.

He faced one allegation of failing to maintain professional boundaries by engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a pupil, known only as ‘Pupil A’, and one allegation of engaging in a sexual relationship with the same pupil during the summer in which she received her A-level results.

The panel found that it was “not proven” that Tomsett failed to maintain professional boundaries by conducting an inappropriate relationship with the pupil, an allegation Tomsett denied, though some of his actions were “unwise, ill-judged and unprofessional”.

Tomsett admitted engaging in a sexual relationship with the pupil after both he and she left the school, but denied unacceptable professional conduct.

Although he was found not guilty of unacceptable professional conduct, Tomsett’s actions did fall short of teaching standards of 1992, and if known at the time would have brought the profession into disrepute, the panel ruled. Therefore, his actions amount to conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.

The panel’s decision on whether or not to ban Tomsett from teaching will be announced in around two weeks.

More to follow.