Pontypool teacher who touched schoolgirls inappropriately and 'practiced Kung Fu in class' is struck off

South Wales Argus: Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw in Pontypool Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw in Pontypool

A MATHS teacher who touched schoolgirls in an inappropriate manner and practised kung fu moves with boys in the classroom has been struck off.

Paul Griffiths also invited a female pupil to go to the ballet and sent her a Valentine's poem, a General Teaching Council for Wales conduct committee hearing was told today.

The teacher at Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw in Pontypool touched a girl's bottom at a school prom and other parts of pupils' bodies including their arms and back, the GTCW committee heard.

He also made inappropriate comments after schoolgirls stood on a chair to open a window and bent down to pick up a pencil from the floor, GTCW presenting officer Lousha Bryl told the hearing.

He also gave a Christmas present to a female pupil and turned up at a shop where she worked.

Griffiths was dismissed following an investigation conducted by the school's headteacher Hywel Griffiths.

Yesterday, a GTCW panel found that allegations levelled against him amounted to unacceptable professional conduct and barred him from working as a teacher in the UK indefinitely.

Griffiths did not attend the conduct hearing held in Cardiff.

Committee chairman Steve Powell said: "Mr Griffiths was in a position of trust.

"The allegations relate to behaviour that goes beyond the boundary of pupil teacher relationship.

"Mr Griffiths has not shown any insight into his failings or expressed any remorse or apology."

Ms Bryl told the committee how Griffiths practiced kung fu, taekwondo and judo moves with the boys at the front of the classroom.

He sent inappropriate emails to a pupil discussing his personal life including health issues and the breakdown of a relationship, the hearing was told.

Some of the messages ended with Lots of Love - LOL, Ms Bryl said.

He was interested in Chinese medicine and claimed he could help to cure ailments by touching parts of the body, the GTCW committee heard.

During disciplinary proceedings, the teacher did not deny sending emails to the pupil and said the purpose had been to make her feel better about herself and raise her spirits.

He also said martial arts moves were introduced to break up prolonged maths sessions in the classroom.

The GTCW committee found that Mr Griffiths had exchanged inappropriate emails with pupil A between October 2001and March 2003.

The panel also found that he had developed inappropriate relationships with several female pupils at the school.

It ruled that he had had inappropriate physical contact with female pupils at the school.

The committee also found that he had engaged in inappropriate activities during lessons by allowing pupils to participate in martial arts.

The committee found that all four allegations amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.

The panel ruled that a fifth allegation he had left his class unattended for lengthy periods during teaching time while talking to female pupils had not been proven.

Mr Powell said the teacher had 28 days to appeal the indefinite prohibition order imposed by the committee to the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court.

Mr Powell added that he could apply to be restored onto the register of qualified teachers but would have to wait five years to do so.

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