Orpington teacher struck off for actions towards two girls

11th April, 2022 12:30 pm

A teacher in south east London has been struck off after “sexually motivated” actions, including touching, towards two girls in her care.

Lauren Melvin, 41, was head of science at Newstead Wood School in Orpington.

A string of allegations from late 2019 were both admitted by Ms Melvin and, separately, found to be proven by a professional misconduct panel after two pupils came forward.

The panel concluded she should be permanently banned from teaching.

Allegations included telling pupil A “I am good at giving massages” and asking “do you fancy me”.

Ms Melvin was found to have told Pupil A “this song is about a lesbian who has never had sex and who does it with someone more experienced”.

She also pushed pupil A up against a wall, fed her a biscuit, and shared alcohol with her. The panel’s report said the teacher told the girl: “‘If you ever tell anyone about the wine, I’ll kill you’, or words to that effect and/or wiped student A’s lips to remove the wine.”

Around the same time, Ms Melvin hugged pupils A and B, and made comments about Pupil A’s breasts.

‘Extreme duress’

The panel found Ms Melvin’s behaviour was “sexually motivated” and showed she was “in pursuit of a sexual relationship”, as well as exhibiting “controlling behaviour”.

In her defence, Ms Melvin’s representative said the teacher had been “acting under extreme duress” because she was working five days a week as the head of a department and also on a two-day contract working on a separate science learning partnership.

Feeling she did not have enough time to complete her work, the representative said, “Ms Melvin increasingly found comfort in spending time with pupils”, especially Pupil A and Pupil B.

There were 11 references submitted attesting to Ms Melvin being a “highly thought of and well liked” colleague, with one adding she was “trustworthy and reliable in both babysitting and tutoring”.

However, on behalf of the secretary of state for education, Alan Meyrick of the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) banned her from teaching from 31 March 2022.

Right to appeal

Ms Melvin has a right of appeal to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court within 28 days.

In a statement, Newstead Wood School said “we fully support the outcome” of the panel.

It said as soon as the school was made aware of the allegations, “we reported them to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and the police in line with our safeguarding policy”.

“The staff member was suspended from work pending the police investigation, which we supported in full.”

“Once this was complete, we undertook a thorough internal investigation of our own, which resulted in the appropriate disciplinary procedures and a referral to both the TRA and the Disclosure and Barring Service.”

The Metropolitan Police has been approached for comment.

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-61007857

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