A former teacher at a school in Wolverhampton has been permanently banned from classrooms throughout the country after having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl.
Mark Rowley, who taught at North East Wolverhampton Academy, began the relationship with the 16-year-old’s parents’ blessing.
The ban on the music teacher, who was sacked by the school, was imposed by Education Secretary Michael Gove. The 33-year-old admitted the allegations and is still in a relationship with the teenager, the National College for Teaching and Leadership professional conduct panel was told.
A ban was necessary to protect children from Mr Rowley, the panel found.
The relationship began soon after the girl’s 16th birthday. A report sent to the Secretary of State said: “The relationship had developed over a period of time and Mr Rowley had plenty of opportunity to withdraw from it.
“In addition, Mr Rowley has not demonstrated an understanding of its seriousness.
“The relationship, which Mr Rowley says is still continuing, was consensual and, if not encouraged, acquiesced in by the parents.”
Giving the final decision on behalf of the Secretary of State, Department for Education deputy director for teacher regulation Alan Meyrick said: “This case represented a serious departure from the standards expected of a teacher. The pupil was only just 16 at the time the sexual relationship began and the pupil was still registered at school.”
The ban from the profession was made permanent despite a recommendation from the panel that Rowley should be entitled to apply to return to teaching after 10 years.
Mr Meyrick added: “I have taken into account the need to be proportionate, but also the need to uphold the public confidence in the teaching profession, and in my view that outweighs other matters. I have therefore decided that there should be no review period.”
The decision means that Rowley is prohibited from teaching indefinitely in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England. He has a right of appeal to the High Court.
Paul Bishton, chief executive of the City of Wolverhampton Academy Trust, said: “Mark Rowley was employed as a peripatetic teacher at North East Wolverhampton Academy when the allegation was made against him.
“The academy went through the proper safeguarding process and the matter was subsequently referred to the police. He was immediately dismissed by the academy.”