Teacher banned from profession after grooming and having sex with pupil at Bristol private school
A man has been banned from teaching for life after grooming and having sex with a female pupil at a Bristol private school.
Stuart Blan worked as a science teacher and then assistant housemaster at Clifton College between 1994 and 2000.
But it was during his second stint working at the school, in 2004, that he groomed the pupil.
He has now been banned from teaching for life by a Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) professional conduct panel.
The panel heard Mr Blan abused his position of trust and failed to understand or have genuine remorse for his actions – even to the point of asking the pupil’s parents if they could stay together after he left the school.
The 53-year-old did not attend the hearing and was not represented but denied failing to maintain a proper boundary appropriate to a teacher’s professional position by having sexual relations with the girl and that his conduct was sexually motivated. The panel found both proven.
He also admitted failing to treat pupils with dignity by using intimidating behaviour and language while a teacher at Canford College in Dorset, and also failing to disclose to the British School Al Khubairat in the UAE that he had been a teacher at Clifton College in 2004 and that his conduct lacked integrity.
The ex-teacher accepted he was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.
The panel’s report was published on Monday 3 October, following its decision on August 17.
It said the youngster’s evidence at the hearing was “measured and candid”.
It said: “Pupil E explained how she first met Mr Blan in 2004.
“She explained that extra [redacted] training sessions were offered by Mr Blan and these quickly turned into one-to-one sessions, on at least a weekly basis."
She told the panel there was a "flirtation" during the sessions, which included touching.
“Pupil E explained that Mr Blan had offered her driving practice," the report adds.
She told the panel that during a drive, the teacher stopped near a woodland and they kissed in the car, which she described as “snogging”, and that they also kissed in a school staffroom.
The report said: “Pupil E stated that the relationship developed quickly, and they had sexual intercourse shortly after the occasion when they kissed in the car.
“The panel found that Mr Blan was still teaching lessons at the school, until told not to do so by the school in 2004.
“It was accepted by both Mr Blan and Pupil E that after this, the relationship continued into the summer of 2005.”
In his statement, the teacher admitted he had sexual relations with the girl but denied he developed an inappropriate relationship with her while employed at Clifton College.
“The panel did not accept that evidence, it preferred the evidence of Pupil E,” the report said.
“Mr Blan stated that in early December, he spoke to Pupil E’s parents to ask if he could date their daughter.
“The panel found that a relationship between Mr Blan and Pupil E had already formed by this stage.
“The panel considered that Mr Blan had failed to maintain appropriate boundaries.
“However the flirtation had started, the panel considered that the responsibility was on Mr Blan, the responsible adult, to discourage any inappropriate behaviour and report it to the appropriate senior leader.”
It said there were rumours at the time relating to an inappropriate relationship between a teacher and pupil and there was evidence “this had resulted in a notice being placed in the school advising people not to speak to the press”.
The report said: “Having found the facts proved, the panel further found that Mr Blan’s conduct amounted to both unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.
“The panel was not reassured that other pupils would not be at risk of harm if Mr Blan was allowed to continue to teach.”
He was banned from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth-form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.
The report said allegations about his relationship with Pupil E came to light around November 2017, while Blan worked at the British School Al Khubairat in the UAE.
It was at this point that a formal investigation was triggered by Clifton College into the historical allegations.
“The school determined that there was insufficient evidence to pursue the allegations against Mr Blan further,” it added.
A Clifton College spokesperson said afterwards: “Clifton College notes, with utmost seriousness, the findings of the TRA in relation to the inappropriate and abhorrent behaviour of a former teacher who left the school in 2004.
“We would like to extend our sincere apologies to those students who were affected at that time.
“Today’s Clifton adopts a very different approach – one in which we continually seek to apply rigorous standards of child protection to all our processes and take a child-centred view of every decision we make, in partnership with the local authority designated officer and other statutory bodies who play a critical role in helping us to keep our pupils as safe as possible.
“The TRA’s findings are a reminder of the importance of our ongoing vigilance and improvement, to which we remain wholly committed.”
Credit: Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service