Norfolk teacher who quit over sex allegations banned from classroom

Gresham School in Holt.

Gresham's School in Holt. - Credit: Mark Bullimore

The former head of biology at a Norfolk school has been banned from teaching after he admitted engaging in sexual activity with a pupil and sending a text saying she had “a lovely body”.

Paul Laidler, 42, faced complaints over inappropriate behaviour dating back to 2007 while he was a teacher at Warminster School, an independent boarding school in Wiltshire.

Later that year he was employed as a head of biology and a non-resident house tutor at Gresham’s School in Holt but he resigned in 2018 when the historic sexual allegations first came to light. 

Gresham's School in Holt.

Gresham's School in Holt. - Credit: Mark Bullimore

A teachers’ disciplinary panel heard he had allowed the pupil to stay at his home, drink alcohol and drive, before kissing and engaging in sexual contact with her and later sending an inappropriate text message. 

He admitted his actions were unacceptable professional conduct but more than 30 character references submitted on his behalf referred to the incident being “seemingly out of character”. 

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A Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) panel, which heard the case earlier this month, has recommended he should be prohibited from teaching indefinitely in any school, sixth form college, youth accommodation or children’s home in England.

TRA decision maker Sarah Buxcey said: “The panel found that Mr Laidler was responsible for engaging in sexual activity with a former pupil when she was heavily under the influence of alcohol, which by its nature was an abuse of his position of trust, as the former pupil’s teacher, and which demonstrated a failure to maintain professional boundaries.”

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The seriousness of the allegations meant the panel decided that he should not be entitled to apply for restoration of his eligibility to teach, she added.

During a police interview Mr Laidler had expressed anger that the incident had been reported by his former pupil. 

Ms Buxcey said: “Due to the seriousness of the findings in this case and the lack of evidence to fully demonstrate Mr Laidler’s insight or remorse to prevent a similar incident from reoccurring in the future, after careful consideration and despite the severity of the consequences for Mr Laidler, I have decided that allowing for no review period is necessary to maintain public confidence and is proportionate and in the public interest.”

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