Emmanuel Egbe, 57, taught at Challney High School for Girls until he was dismissed in after a school disciplinary investigation into his behaviour. He had been an English teacher there since September 2014.
The panel at the recent National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) hearing in Coventry, found him guilty of sexually motivated behaviour towards the girl and unacceptable professional conduct which could bring the teaching professions into disrepute.
The panel found, among other things that he had sent the girl a message on one occasion in which he said : “I’m falling deeply in love with you and I hope you feel the same too.”
He was accused of providing the girl with his mobile phone number; exchanging text or social media messages with her; telling her to delete messages he had exchanged with her; and dishonestly trying to conceal his conduct towards her.
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The panel’s findings say: “The panel is satisfied that the conduct of Mr Egbe amounts to misconduct of a serious nature, which fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession. The panel was also satisfied that the conduct of Mr Egbe involved breaches of Teachers’ Standards. The panel, therefore, considers that Mr Egbe’s conduct fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession.”
Mr Egbe claimed to the panel that his messages were not of a sexual nature or sexually motivated. He claimed there were no sexual remarks towards the girl in his messages, that his relationship with the girl was akin to that of a father and daughter, that as a result of his health he had not been thinking rationally, and that his words had been taken out of context.
However, the findings say : “The panel reviewed all of the evidence and concluded, on a balance of probabilities, that Mr Egbe’s conduct was more likely than not to have been sexually motivated.”
The panel had been told by the assistant head teacher that Mr Egbe was a “good engaging teacher” but it also found that he had limited insight into what he had done. They recommended that he should be banned from teaching but given the opportunity to seek to have the ban lifted after five years.
Agreeing with that and imposing the ban on behalf of Education Secretary Damian Hinds, Alan Meyrick, deputy director of the NCTL said : “I have considered whether a five year review period reflects the seriousness of the findings and is a proportionate period to achieve the aim of maintaining public confidence in the profession.”
He said that three factors persuaded him it was appropriate and added : “These elements are the dishonesty, the sexual misconduct and the lack of full insight.
“I consider therefore that a five-year review period is required to satisfy the maintenance of public confidence in the profession.”
He made it clear, however, that re-instatement after five years will not be automatic and that Mr Egbe will have to persuade a new panel that he is fit to return to the classroom.
Mr Egbe has the right to appeal to the High Court against the decision and the ban