Teacher banned for sending thousands of emails to four students

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A Stratton Upper School teacher who sent sexually charged emails to four pupils has been banned from the classroom.

Richard Merrett, 30, who was head of Year 13 and sixth form co-ordinator at the Biggleswade school, told one pupil “you have nice pins which many girls would die for” and “you have a beautiful body”.

To others he sent messages with sexual references, derogatory comments about former colleagues and talked about his marriage, personal life and under age drinking.

The National College for Teaching and Personal Leadership’s professional conduct panel heard one of the pupil’s parents had contacted the school after discovering inappropriate Facebook messenger exchanges between their daughter and Mr Merrett.

An investigation by the school into his emails revealed Mr Merrett’s contact with four pupils to their personal accounts while they were still pupils at the school. He had also failed to report a safeguarding issue in respect of one of the girls.

A police investigation was carried out but no action was taken.

Mr Merrett admitted the breaches and resigned from the school in April 2015. He said there had never been any sexual intent with any of the emails sent to the students.

In all he sent more than 1,370 emails to the four students over a six-month period.

The panel recommended to the Secretary of State for Education that Mr Merrett be banned from teaching in any school, sixth form college, youth accommodation and children’s home in England.

He can apply for the order to be set aside from July 25, 2019.

Rob Watson, Executive headteacher of Stratton Education rrust, said: “It is very rare that someone in our profession abuses their position of trust in the way this case highlights. Despite this, it is vital that schools have robust mechanisms to investigate and act upon allegations should they arise.

“We are grateful to those members of our community who had the bravery and sense of duty to raise their concerns with us. I am also pleased to note that the Trust’s safeguarding procedures proved swift and decisive, preventing an even more serious situation developing.”