Former Melbourn PE teacher who looked up porn on school laptop escapes ban

PUBLISHED: 16:55 08 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:59 08 August 2018

PE teacher Robert Walker has escaped a ban from the profession after he admitted looking up porn on a school laptop. File photo. Credit: HyperionPixels/Getty Images/iStockphoto

PE teacher Robert Walker has escaped a ban from the profession after he admitted looking up porn on a school laptop. File photo. Credit: HyperionPixels/Getty Images/iStockphoto

HyperionPixels

A former Melbourn Village College PE teacher who looked up pornography on a school laptop while at home has been allowed to stay in the profession.

Robert Walker, 34, was dismissed by the college after a disciplinary hearing last June – having looked at the material outside school hours over a period of 18 months to two years.

Search terms found included ‘twink’ – a term for males aged over 18, who appear younger – but police found nothing to suggest any of the material Mr Walker viewed related to children.

At a misconduct hearing, a Teaching Regulation Agency panel found a ban from the professional would not be proportionate.

Mr Walker admitted in advance of the hearing that he was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct that could bring the profession into disrepute.

In a statement to the panel, he said he fully understood the decision made by the school to dismiss him and that “his behaviour was below the expectation of a teacher”.

He added: “I can assure anyone who needs to know that I will not be venturing down that avenue again.”

Mr Walker had been employed at the school since September 2006, and organised school trips. In January 2017 his pornography viewing was spotted through the school’s IT system, and reported to the school principal.

Police searched Mr Walker’s home two days later and seized all IT equipment and phones. They concluded their investigation in May last year, making no charges against him.

The college then launched an internal investigation which culminated in Mr Walker’s dismissal on June 20 last year.

The misconduct panel said Mr Walker had acted foolishly but had from the outset admitted the allegations and co-operated fully.

It said “the nature and severity of the behaviour is at the least serious end of the possible spectrum”, adding that viewing legal pornography is not an offence – “it is the fact that Mr Walker did so on a school laptop which is inappropriate”.

Dawn Dandy, on behalf of the education secretary, agreed with the panel that as there was nothing to suggest the pornography related to children, there were no safeguarding issues to consider.

She concluded that banning Mr Walker from teaching would be disproportionate.

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