Men were cleared to work in school

A string of individuals banned from teaching because of a record of child sex offences have won exemptions allowing them to work in particular schools, it emerged today.

Three men placed on the confidential List 99, which is intended to bar sex offenders for life from working in schools, were cleared to take posts where it was felt they would not be tempted, The Times reported.

The revelation will increase pressure on Education Secretary Ruth Kelly, who launched a review of the vetting system after it emerged that Paul Reeve was cleared by a minister to work as a PE teacher despite a caution for viewing child pornography.

The Times highlighted cases today in which people placed on List 99 have appealed to the Care Standards Tribunal, set up in 1999 to hear cases involving work with children.

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In one case, a man convicted of possessing indecent images of young boys masturbating was cleared in 2001 by then Education Secretary Estelle Morris to work in all-girl schools.

In proceedings summarised on the internet, the tribunal heard medical evidence that science teacher Keith Hudson’s interest in young boys was “homosexual, paedophilic and inappropriate”, but that Ms Morris’s decision was justified because he had “no interest in girls”.

The tribunal, which was told that Ms Morris had imposed “the least onerous restrictions available to her”, backed her decision.

Another man named only as H - convicted of molesting a 12-year-old boy by pulling down his swimming trunks was cleared by the tribunal to teach over-14s.

And a third man who had written “inappropriate words” about a preparatory school pupil reportedly overturned a total ban and was allowed to work in boarding schools so long as he did not live on the premises.

The new cases follow the news last night that a man convicted of indecent assault on a child in 1980 had since taught in two schools on Tyneside and another in County Durham.

Like Mr Reeve, it is understood William Gibson, 59, was not on List 99, but he was rejected for work by a supply teaching agency which checked his past with the Criminal Records Bureau.

Although the agency informed the Department for Education of its concerns, Gibson went on to teach maths for three months in 2003 at St Joseph’s RC Comprehensive School in Hebburn, and then found work the following year at another school in the borough, Hebburn Comprehensive.

He lasted just one day before his past was discovered and he was asked to leave.

Once again - less than six months later - the former financial adviser found temporary work at a school in Co Durham, where he worked for a day before being thrown out.

Margaret Morrissey, spokeswoman for the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations, demanded an apology to parents from Ms Kelly.

“This seems to me to be a system in crisis and a Secretary of State who has no idea what her department is doing,” she said.

“It is unforgivable.”

Steve Sinnott, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, told BBC2’s Newsnight: “We have had people who have been running agencies who have been on List 99.

“We identified one and raised that with government the previous government. That happened.

“The person was on List 99 in this particular case for a criminal offence involving money, not involving a sex crime. Nevertheless, they were on List 99 and that check had not been made.”

A spokesman for the Department for Education said last night: “There is a responsibility on all employers - schools and supply agencies - to carry out the necessary checks for permanent and supply teachers. These checks will reveal whether someone has a conviction, past or present.

“Employers should obtain a CRB Enhanced Disclosure in respect of all teachers they recruit before the person is placed in a school.

“This will include information about any spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings, as well as information from local police records such as details of acquittals, pending prosecutions, or other non-conviction information.

“Employers should also scrutinise applicants’ qualifications, professional and character references, prior employment history, as well as conduct a face to face interview.”

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