MP questions length of classroom ban for former Gorleston teacher
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011
An MP last night questioned the leniency of a two-year classroom ban for a Norfolk teacher found guilty of 'unacceptable professional conduct' including behaviour of a sexual nature.
A disciplinary panel heard that during lessons at the former Oriel High School, in Gorleston, Gregory Hallam, 40, blew up a condom and got a pupil to rub it until it burst, talked of porn on Facebook with a 14-year-old girl pupil and ogled porn on school computers.
It was also told the French and Spanish teacher failed to maintain appropriate professional boundaries in his relationship with two 14-year-old girls at the school which has since become Ormiston Venture Academy.
However, the classroom ban imposed by the Education Department is limited to two years, allowing him to return to teaching if he can convince another panel from the National College for Teaching and Leaders that he is fit to do so.
Expressing surprise at the leniency, Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis said: 'What he has done amounts to a quite unbelievable breach of trust. No parent is going to be comfortable with the prospect of him teaching their child again.'
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The ban, announced by a senior education department official acting on behalf of education secretary Michael Gove follows a disciplinary panel finding that Hallam was guilty of 'unacceptable professional conduct'.
Concerning the incident with the condom, Hallam, who worked at Oriel from 2007 to 2011, admitted telling one student that if baby oil was put on a condom it would burst. He then put baby oil on a blown up condom and the pupil rubbed it until it burst.
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'We consider that Mr Hallam's comments in relation to this subject were inappropriate given that he was not conducting a sex and relationship education class and there were younger pupils in the classroom,' say the panel's findings.
Turning to the two 14-year-old girls, the findings continue: 'He failed to maintain appropriate professional boundaries in his relationship with a 14-year-old student, Student A, by accepting her as a friend on Facebook, communicating with her through Facebook on four occasions and made an inappropriate comment to her on the site by saying he was 'watching porn'.'
Hallam was also found to have befriended another 14-year old girl, Student B, on Facebook.
Alan Meyrick, deputy director teacher regulation at the Department for Education, said: 'The panel find these actions amount to unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.
'Although he has shown remorse, the panel have been shown no evidence in the form of references or testimonials in his support.'
Hallam has a right of appeal to the High Court.
No spokesman from Norfolk County Council was available to comment over the weekend.