Essex teacher Steven Ockendon banned after ‘pupil relationships’
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A north Essex teacher has been banned from the profession after inappropriate relationships with pupils at two primary schools.
A conduct panel for the National College of Teaching and Leadership heard Steven Ockendon was given written advice about acceptable behaviour from two schools, St Thomas More’s Primary in Colchester and St Peter’s Primary, Coggeshall, but failed to declare this when applying for a third job at All Saints Primary in Fordham.
The panel found allegations, including telling a former pupil to take off his underwear, proven.
While working at St Thomas More’s School between 2001 and 2003 Ockendon, 36, was found to have had an inappropriate relationship with a pupil including eating lunch with them, sitting close to them in the staff room, and asking why they were absent despite the child not being in his class.
Ockendon also threatened to leave the school if he was not permitted to teach the pupil’s class the following year. The teacher also, while not at the school site, asked the same pupil to take off their underwear and stayed in the room while the child did so, leaving the youngster’s genitals, in their words, “more or less completely exposed”.
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While teaching at Fordham All Saints School between 2011 and 2012, Ockendon contacted a former pupil on social media with messages inviting them over for a drive in a car and a shower.
Another allegation found proven involved Ockendon contacting another child on social media, despite safeguarding guidelines suggesting contacting children on social media was inappropriate.
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An allegation that he behaved inappropriately with an ex-pupil while Ockendon was teaching at St Peter’s Primary School between 2006 and 2009, was found not proven by the panel.
Ockendon left both St Thomas More’s and St Peter’s schools shortly after being given advice about professional conduct, and the panel found he had “intentionally concealed” the fact when applying for a role at All Saints.
In its findings the panel said: “The conduct of Mr Ockendon involved breaches of the Teachers’ Standards.
“Mr Ockendon has failed to maintain professional boundaries, over a ten-year period. This involved, at various times, three pupils in different settings.
“The panel finds such conduct is misconduct of a serious nature, falling significantly short of the standard of behaviour expected of a teacher.
“Mr Ockendon’s conduct caused distress and potential harm, encouraged and led to a pupil committing a criminal act, and led to pupils being exposed to and influenced by the behaviour in a harmful way.
“Accordingly, the panel is satisfied Mr Ockendon is guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.”
The Education Secretary has backed the conduct panel’s recommendation to prohibit Ockendon from teaching. He is also not eligible to apply for the order to be lifted.
Ockendon can appeal the decision to the High Court within 28 days.