South Craven Sports Master Banned from Teaching After 'Flirting' with Pupils
A disgraced PE teacher has been banned from the classroom for 'flirting' and sending messages to pupils, calling them ‘naughty girls’ and asking them to meet him.
Paul Cuthbertson, 37, falsely claimed his Facebook account had been hacked and he did not send the messages.Cuthbertson was employed by the South Craven Academy Trust in Cross Hills, and coached the girls’ football team, the National College for Teaching and Leadership heard.
One student said Cuthbertson told her to ‘come in a box’ to his house so he could ‘unwrap’ her.
He sent her messages asking to meet her and that it would be ‘naughty and exciting’.
Two of his own students challenged him about his behaviour after finding the social media contact ‘uncomfortable’, but Cuthbertson continued to send emails to students on his school email account.
Cuthbertson also sent a topless Snapchat picture to the student saying he had ‘fancied her all through school and had let her get away with things because he liked naughty girls’.
The teacher messaged another pupil, known only as Pupil Z, about his social and drinking habits telling her he was ‘going to Aldi to check out the talent.’
He also referred to her as his ‘best mate’ regularly, and admitted he had done so since she joined the school.
Other members of staff warned Cuthbertson twice, in December 2014 and February 2015, for ‘flirting’ with students on social media.
Cuthbertson insisted he was not behind the inappropriate messages, and claimed he did not have wifi at his flat at the time of the messages and that his phone was being repaired.
He presented screenshots of an incorrect Password message, supposedly demonstrating his inability to log into his account.
But his explanation was rejected when messages mentioned the nickname of the sister of one of the girls, who was also a student.
The panel found Cuthbertson could have used his phone or wifi in a public place to send the messages after the screen was replaced in December 2015.
Cuthbertson asked one student to ‘come in a box’ to his house so he could ‘unwrap’ her.
The chair of the National College for Teaching and Leadership said the pupils were ‘more aware of proper professional boundaries and appropriate behaviours than Mr Cuthbertson’.
He was also in possession of a school iPad, and the panel noted some of the inappropriate emails were signed with the automatic signature ‘sent from my iPad’.
Chair of the panel Brian Hawkins said: ‘Wifi is freely available in many public places, Mr Cuthbertson could have visited a friend or family member’s home to use wifi.
‘Mr Cuthbertson could have used the 3G/4G capability on his mobile phone for internet usage and so would not have required wifi to access the internet in any event.
‘On the balance of probabilities, the panel considers it to be highly unlikely that Mr Cuthbertson’s Facebook account was hacked.’
Mr Hawkins said the pupils were ‘more aware of proper professional boundaries and appropriate behaviours than Mr Cuthbertson’.
Cuthbertson was suspended on 25 January 2016 pending an investigation but later resigned on 31 January 2016.
He has been banned indefinitely from teaching.
- News Editor
- Keighley Local News