Hartlepool teacher banned for life from classroom after affair with 16-year-old pupil

A Hartlepool teacher who began an affair with a 16-year-old pupil at his school after kissing her at prom night has been dismissed from the profession for life.

Thursday, 14th December 2017, 5:42 pm
Updated Friday, 15th December 2017, 10:45 am
Disgraced teacher David Fenwick.
Disgraced teacher David Fenwick.

The Department for Education (DfE) has found David Fenwick guilty of sexual misconduct and imposed the ban after learning that other students would be at “some risk of the repetition of this behaviour”.

It has announced its verdict after a teaching misconduct panel heard how history teacher Fenwick, 44, also:

* Made inappropriate comments about the girl’s breasts at the prom night;

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* Began taking her out in his car on their own;

* Suggested that they should run away together;

* Sent her videos miming words to the song I Will Always Love You;

* Texted her indecent images;

* Allowed her to perform a sex act on him;

* Had other sexual contact with her twice a week on a regular basis;

* Drove to another city with the intention of staying over with her for the night;

* Led her to believe that he would leave his partner for her.

The relationship lasted about six months before Fenwick ended it in December 2013.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership panel was told that Pupil A, as she was referred to during the three-day hearing, “experienced significant distress as Mr Fenwick had deliberately led Pupil A to believe that he ‘loved’ her”.

The relationship – forbidden by professional teaching guidelines –remained a secret for nearly two years until the girl, by now a former pupil, told another teacher at a careers event hosted by Fenwick’s school.

An investigation launched by the Wearside school – which the Mail has decided not to name – found him guilty of gross misconduct and he was sacked in February of last year.

This was upheld two months later when Fenwick appealed against the decision.

The panel was told: “Documents relating to the school’s disciplinary process do not demonstrate that Mr Fenwick had any remorse or concern over the inappropriateness of his behaviour towards Pupil A.”

The Department for Education has now banned him indefinitely from the classroom after ratifying last month’s panel recommendations.

Fenwick, who did not attend the panel hearing, denied four of the 14 allegations made against him, including the sex act and further sexual contact accusations.

But both were proven against him along with 10 of the remaining 12 counts after Pupil A bravely travelled to Coventry to give evidence.

The panel concluded: “The panel has found that Mr Fenwick exercised a sustained pattern of behaviour toward Pupil A that was sexually motivated and it is highly likely, in the panel’s view, that this resulted in harm to Pupil A.

“The panel considered Mr Fenwick clearly used his professional position as a teacher to influence or exploit Pupil A to encourage her to enter an inappropriate relationship with him.”

The ban prevents him from indefinitely teaching “in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England”.

In upholding the panel recommendation, Dawn Dandy, for the DfE, added: “I have decided that Mr David Fenwick shall not be entitled to apply for the restoration of his eligibility to teach.”

He can only overturn this ban by lodging an appeal with the High Court by the end of the month.

Fenwick was not available for comment at his Hartlepool home yesterday.