School to investigate 'kissing' teacher

A TEACHER at a Suffolk boarding school convicted of kissing a teenage pupil will have his disciplinary case referred to Government education bosses, it emerged last night.

Russell Claydon

A TEACHER at a Suffolk boarding school convicted of kissing a teenage pupil will have his disciplinary case referred to Government education bosses, it emerged last night.

Stuart Barley, 45, was found guilty of abusing a position of trust by having sexual activity with a child under 18 at Ipswich Crown Court on Wednesday.

The jury heard that he had followed a girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, back to her room after a school party and kissed her.

In a statement issued to the EADT yesterday the headteacher at the school, which also cannot be identified, said Barley remained suspended and that they were looking into a suitable punishment.

It read: “Mr Stuart Barley was suspended from his employment just over a year ago, on 19 March 2007, as soon as allegations were made concerning his conduct in relation to a pupil.

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“He has now been convicted of an offence of sexual activity with a child whilst in a position of trust. Mr Barley therefore remains suspended from his employment.

“It is my intention to deal with the matter properly via the school's internal disciplinary proceedings and, in due course refer the matter to the Department for Children, Families and Schools. I would like to emphasise that the welfare of pupils is of paramount importance.”

The trial of the married father-of-two heard a witness tell the court she had seen the teenage girl go to her room after the party in a drunken state and was shortly followed by Barley.

The witness went to check on her friend and when she arrived to open the door she saw the pair kissing.

Barley, a biology and sports teacher with 20 years experience, was found not guilty last week of another charge of sexual activity with the same pupil.

After his arrest he handed police a prepared statement in which he denied both allegations.

He claimed on the first occasion he had kissed the girl on the cheek to say thank you for lending him a memory stick fro his computer and on the second occasion he claimed he had given her a hug because she was upset.

Judge Peter De Mille told Barley he was likely to receive a community sentence at a hearing at a later date at Peterborough Crown Court.

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