A leading headteacher found not guilty of unacceptable professional conduct over a sexual relationship with a former pupil will return to work next year, it has been announced.
John Tomsett, the headteacher of Huntington School in York, has been on leave for more than two months as a result of a Teacher Regulation Agency misconduct inquiry.
Tomsett admitted having a sexual relationship with an ex-pupil in the early 1990s, but denied unprofessional conduct. In October, a TRA panel found him not guilty of unacceptable professional conduct but said his actions may have brought the teaching profession into disrepute.
I would like to thank all those people who have shown me and my family such incredible support during the most challenging time imaginable
The Department for Education subsequently ruled that Tomsett would not be banned from teaching, because such a prohibition would “clearly deprive the public of his contribution to the profession for the period that it is in force”.
Almost a month has passed since the ruling, but York Council has only just confirmed that Tomsett will begin a “phased return” to work on January 7, following a decision by Huntington’s governors to allow him to return.
“Until he returns in a full time capacity, Matt Smith will continue as acting head teacher,” a council spokesperson said. “We will continue to support the governors and Mr Tomsett as he settles into his return and look forward to welcoming him back to the school community.”
Tomsett said he was “delighted to be returning to the job I love at the school I love”.
“I would like to thank the governing body for showing such faith in me and pay tribute to my deputies Matt Smith and Gail Naish who have led our phenomenal staff during my absence.
“I would also like to thank all those people who have shown me and my family such incredible support during the most challenging time imaginable. I would especially like to thank my wife and my two sons, who have been truly remarkable.
“I look forward to helping to educate the young people at our school and ensuring that they have the best futures possible.”
Tomsett faced 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 TRA 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”.