Liverpool

Belmont School head banned after groping female staff

Belmont School, Rossendale Image copyright Google
Image caption Michael Stobart was the former headteacher at Belmont School

A former head teacher who groped a member of staff during a school assembly has been banned from teaching.

Michael Stobart, 61, who ran Belmont School, Rossendale, Lancashire was found guilty of serious misconduct by at a professional conduct hearing.

Allegations that he touched two female staff members were proven and were "unwanted and sexual", the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) found.

Mr Stobart who did not attend the hearing can appeal in two years.

Mr Stobart approached the first woman, referred to as staff A, in the school kitchen in October 2016.

He then proceeded to touch her, inappropriately, on her buttocks and then placed his hand between her legs, witnessed by a kitchen assistant.

Staff A told the panel she suffered from anxiety following the incident and the "considerable" impact on her was still apparent, said the panel.

The TRA said it considered staff A and the witness to be credible.

'Squeezed'

The panel also found two allegations of "inappropriate touching" relating to a second staff member - referred to as staff B - were proven.

It was alleged Mr Stobart "squeezed her buttock" in an awards' assembly in 2015 and "touched [her] backside" when she bent over in a medical room on an unknown date.

She declined to take part in proceedings but the panel reviewed evidence from an internal investigation.

A fourth allegation that the three incidents amounted to "unwanted and sexual" conduct was also proven.

The panel acknowledged Mr Stobart had not been convicted of an offence but found his behaviour amounted to misconduct of a "serious nature" which fell significantly short of the standards expected of the teaching profession.

Belmont School is for boys aged between five and 16 with complex social, emotional and mental health needs.

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