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Disgraced teacher struck off for having sex with former pupil on multiple occasions

A former teacher has been banned from the profession for life after admitting that he had sex with a former pupil on multiple occasions.


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Thomas Sherlock, the former head of geography at Ormiston SWB Bilston Academy, on Dudley Street, Bilston, was found guilty of 'unacceptable professional conduct' by a misconduct panel last week.

Mr Sherlock, 29, was suspended from the school in March 2022, after allegations were made stating that he had engaged in personal communication and 'sexual activity' with the former pupil.

In July 2022, following an internal investigation where Mr Sherlock denied having a sexual relationship with the former pupil, the school referred the matter to the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA), who would call a hearing.

In the hearing, which took place from April 30 to May 16, Mr Sherlock admitted engaging in sexual intercourse with the former pupil 'on more than one occasion'.

Mr Thomas Sherlock was a teacher at Ormiston SWB Bilston Academy in 2018

Mr Sherlock had been employed at Ormiston SWB Academy since July 2018. In 2022, the former pupil, referred to as Pupil A, informed Individual C that she and Mr Sherlock had engaged in personal communication on numerous occasions.

The TRA heard how Pupil A had 'reached out' to Mr Sherlock after seeing a TikTok video of him.

Pupil A stated that the conversations soon turned 'flirty', and that the two first engaged in sexual activity from October 2021, almost one month from when the communication first began.

The hearing then heard how Pupil A had 'felt guilty' that she had 'ruined his career' and that the relationship then 'fizzled out'. It was also stated in the hearing that police dropped the investigation after Pupil A refused to give her phone over as part of the inquiries.

During the hearing, Mr Sherlock also told of how the communications had 'started professionally' but then 'turned personal', also admitting that he does take responsibility for putting himself in a 'difficult position'.

The TRA panel found Mr Sherlock guilty of 'unacceptable professional conduct that would bring the teaching profession into disrepute', going on to tell of how he had put a 'vulnerable' girl in a position where she was not being safeguarded efficiently.

In the hearing, it was also said that Mr Sherlock showed a lack of full insight and remorse' meaning that there would be 'some risk of the repetition of the behaviour'.

The former teacher was handed a prohibition order by the Secretary of State, preventing him from carrying out teaching work in schools or other settings.

The TRA said: "The panel found that Mr Sherlock’s behaviours were fundamentally incompatible with the teacher’s standards, and, therefore, of being a teacher and given, in the panel’s view, he was only able to engage in a sexual relationship with Pupil A because he knew her, and he had been her teacher.

"The panel was concerned that he could in the future fail to safeguard pupils, or even be a risk to other pupils."

Decision maker, Sarah Buxcey, said: "In view of the seriousness of the allegations found proved against him, I have decided that Mr Sherlock shall not be entitled to apply for full restoration of his eligibility to teach.

"This order takes effect from the date on which it is served on the teacher."

In a letter, sent to parents and carers at the school, Dan Mason, principal at Ormiston SWB Academy, said: "The incident involved a now-former teacher, Mr Tom Sherlock, whose behaviour relating to a former student breached the Teacher Code of Conduct.

"His behaviour was unacceptable and entirely out of line with the high standards we uphold as an academy, and our strong duty of care to ensure our students are kept safe."

The headteacher reaffirmed that the school took 'immediate action' to suspend Mr Sherlock.

Mr Mason continued: "As soon as we were made aware of the allegation, we took immediate action to suspend the individual and he left the academy in July 2022, shortly after a robust internal inquiry and a thorough police investigation.

"I understand that this news may cause some concern or shock, but we want to assure you that it was an isolated incident and was dealt with thoroughly at the time, with the utmost seriousness and urgency."

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