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Ex-teacher Toby Kennedy guilty of sexually motivated conduct towards Ipswich High School for Girls pupil

PUBLISHED: 18:43 10 March 2017 | UPDATED: 18:43 10 March 2017

Ipswich High School for Girls, located in Woolverstone

Ipswich High School for Girls, located in Woolverstone

Archant

A teacher who sent a female pupil inappropriate messages has been found guilty of sexually motivated conduct and banned from the country’s classrooms for life.

Toby Michael Kennedy, 39 and who was a part-time music teacher at Ipswich High School for Girls, admitted he developed a friendship with the girl, exchanged messages with her including via Snaphat and gave her a lift in his car; and he accepted that in doing so he had breached school policies.

A National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) panel at Coventry has found him guilty of “unacceptable professional conduct that could bring the teaching profession into disrepute” and has held that his actions were “sexually motivated”.

Lucy Beavon, of Ipswich High School for Girls, said: “When concerns about his behaviour were flagged up, he was immediately reported to the authorities, and suspended from school.

“Following his suspension, he was subsequently dismissed.”

The NCTL panel’s findings quote messages sent by Kennedy which included the words: “Show us y’boobs”, “I would like to see more, and you don’t wanna play, and that makes me sad, and I got really excited”, “I want to kiss your face” and “I adore you”.

Kennedy denied to the panel that he had any sexual feelings towards the girl.

However, the panel concluded: “On balance and having carefully weighed all of the evidence, the panel accordingly considered that Mr Kennedy’s conduct was sexually motivated.”

Imposing the life-time ban on Kennedy on behalf of Education Secretary Justine Greening, Jayne Millions, head of teacher misconduct for the NCTL said: “In light of the panel’s findings against Mr Kennedy, including that he had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a pupil, which the panel considered to be sexually motivated, I agree with the panel that there is a strong public interest consideration in respect of the protection of pupils.”

Mrs Beavon said Kennedy worked part-time as a specialist music teacher at Ipswich High School between 2012 and 2015.

She added: “The safety and welfare of our pupils is our priority and girls are encouraged to share any concerns they may have and these are immediately acted upon.”

In many cases when teachers are banned they are able to seek to have the ban lifted after a number of years.

But in this case Ms Millions said the ban should be permanent.

It is open to Kennedy to mount a High Court challenge to the findings and the ban.

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