Teachers at a Steiner school thought it “appropriate” for pupils to sit on a teacher’s lap, a tribunal has heard, as schools are accused of allowing a sexualised culture among pupils to prevail. The Telegraph reports.
Inappropriate teacher-student relationships went unchallenged at Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley (RSSKL) and people felt “at ease about touch”, the hearing into the conduct of a former teacher was told.
Denis McCarthy, who taught at RSSKL, Herts, for 34 years, is accused of “sexually motivated” inappropriate behaviour with pupils.
The tribunal, which continues this week, comes as a time of deepening crisis for Steiner schools, which base their curriculum on child creativity and rearing free-spirited individuals, with ministers threatening to cut funding from two academies, in Frome and Bristol.
Parents at one school contacted The Sunday Telegraph to say that teachers’ “inability” to address sexualised behaviour was a serious worry among families, who are considering taking legal action.
The professional conduct panel in Coventry heard that Mr McCarthy pushed a 10-year-old pupil against a wall and pulled her underwear down, and that on a school camping trip he was seen “going in and out of the girls’ tents”.
Carole Connelly, an educational consultant who investigated the claims against the teacher, told the panel: “I think Mr McCarthy groomed a number of parents. He tried to establish that some of his behaviour was entirely normal. He put himself into such a position that no one would challenge him.”
He was sacked for gross misconduct in 2017 and the school has since been ordered to close.
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