New Police Recruit Banned From Teaching In UK

September 28, 2017

[Updated] One of the new Bermuda Police Service recruits — Matthew McGowan — is the subject of multiple news report in the U.K about his “inappropriate behavior with a 16-year old student” at a school where he was employed as a teacher, the police have confirmed, with the police saying they are looking into the matter to determine “if the officer has breached BPS standards of professional behaviour.”

Acting Commissioner Paul Wright said, “One of the fourteen new Bermuda Police Service recruits who commenced a Recruit Foundation Course on Monday 11 September 2017 has been linked to a news report in the U.K that was published on Thursday 28 September 2017.

“The news report refers to allegations that the officer was engaged in inappropriate behavior with a sixteen year old student at a private school where he was previously employed as a teacher.

“The matter was investigated by the police in the U.K which found that there was no criminal case to answer.

“However, the National College for Teaching and Leadership convened a professional conduct panel which recorded its decision on 7th September 2017 that on balance, the allegations that he developed an inappropriate relationship with the student were proven.

“The full text of the ruling can be viewed here.

“The BPS conducts background checks on all applicants seeking to join the Service. In this case there were no adverse traces at that time.

“However, the BPS continues to look into this matter with a view to determining if the officer has breached BPS standards of professional behaviour,” Mr Wright added.

The ruling the police reference details the allegations, which included allegedly “engaging in sexual activity,” and states, “The panel has found the majority of the allegations proven and found that those proven facts amount to unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.

“The panel is satisfied that the conduct of Mr McGowan was serious misconduct which fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession.”

“Mr Matthew McGowan is prohibited from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.

“Furthermore, in view of the seriousness of the allegations found proved against him, I have decided that Mr Matthew McGowan shall not be entitled to apply for restoration of his eligibility to teach.”

Update: Mr. McGowan taught in Bermuda from 2007 – 2010 at Warwick Academy, and Warwick Academy Principal David Horan said, “Mr. Matthew McGowan taught at the school from September 2007 until June 2010 when, at the natural conclusion of his three year contract, he returned to the UK to pursue his teaching ambitions. We are shocked to hear this news out of the UK and our thoughts are with all those involved.

“The school takes child protection very seriously with various checks in our recruitment process to proactively detect any potential prior concerns. The school also took its own initiative to introduce SCARS training in 2016 for all staff.

“Further, our association with the Council of International Schools [CIS] through membership has as one of their pillars the obligation to have the correct policies and procedures in place.”

The ruling the police reference is below [PDF here]

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