The Principal of St. Anne’s College Grammar School, Mr Stephen Welsby, and his wife, Mrs Sheila Welsby, the school’s safeguarding lead, have been handed an indefinite ban from the teaching profession having been found to have breached safeguarding regulations.
The Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) found that the elderly married couple who lead the school had delayed reporting claims that a pupil was being abused by a teacher.
Mrs Welsby, 77, who was also the designated safeguarding lead, and Mr Welsby, 78, both failed to promptly report the allegation made in July 2018 to the local authority or the police, the panel heard.
The TRA panel said within two hours the couple, who both started teaching in 1967, had a meeting with Individual X and notified him of the allegation. In that meeting, Individual X made various admissions including confirming when the communications with the victim, referred to as Pupil A, had started, and how he had hoped one day he and Pupil A could be together and that he loved her.
The accused teacher, Individual X, was later convicted of sexual offences with a child, Pupil A, the professional conduct panel heard.
In two separate conduct hearings, the TRA found the married couple’s misconduct amounted to not only unacceptable professional conduct but also conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.
The TRA panel said that it was plain from the nature of the admissions that there was an ongoing risk to Pupil A’s welfare and both Mr and Mrs Welsby had failed to have due regard to this. The TRA panel also found the couple suggested reporting of the allegations might be delayed or that the actions might not be reported at all and failed to share important information with the police.
The TRA panel expressed concerns that at no point during her evidence did Mrs Welsby express any empathy for Pupil A, or the potential consequences her actions might have had on Pupil A or the police investigation. The panel said that she had failed to act in the best interests of the child concerned.
Mr Welsby admitted to the hearing that his immediate response to the allegations was he did not believe them and he said he still questioned Pupil A’s parents’ motives in reporting the matter to the school. The panel said Mr Welsby had a deep-seated attitude that prejudiced his ability to be open-minded as to whether the allegations were true.
The Secretary of State for Education has approved the panel’s recommendation that both Mr and Mrs Welsby be prohibited from teaching indefinitely.
Mr and Mrs Welsby have a right to appeal the indefinite ban order within 28 days.
Read the full judgement on Mrs Welsby here: Mrs Sheila Welsby prohibition order
Read the full judgement on Mr Welsby here: Mr Stephen Welsby prohibition order