A former teacher at a prestigious Kent private school plied a pupil with alcohol before asking him to sit in his lap while aroused, a misconduct hearing was told.
Martin Miles, who taught at the King’s School in Canterbury for 40 years, also tried to sexually touch the youngster while he was in the bath and on another occasion told him to pull down his trousers “for punishment”.
He also encouraged the boy to watch pornography on a CD confiscated from another pupil.
The shocking details were revealed at a teacher misconduct panel hearing last week.
The Teaching Regulation Agency found that while Miles was a housemaster, responsible for boarding students overnight, he crossed boundaries.
While Miles, now aged in his late 60s, denied his behaviour was sexually motivated, the panel concluded his conduct was “for his own sexual gratification”.
“There was no other reason for this behaviour from a teacher to a pupil other than seeking a sexual relationship,” they added.
King’s, which is believed to be the world’s oldest school, employed Miles from 1980 until he retired in 2020.
School bosses told KentOnline this week they are “deeply saddened and shocked by this case” and “wholeheartedly apologise to those who have been affected”.
At the hearing, it was proved that Miles had failed to maintain a professional relationship and his conduct had been sexually motivated towards one boy, referred to only as Pupil A, in the 1990s.
The panel accepted all but one of Pupil A’s allegations as fact and found no evidence to suggest any reasons for him to falsely accuse Miles.
The culture at King’s in the 1990s
During the hearing, Pupil A made it clear he believed the culture at the boarding school at the time was “very old-fashioned, even for the 1990s”.
Another former boarding housemaster, who was asked by the panel to give evidence, said he did not recall any safeguarding training being required at the time.
While Miles denied ever having a boy alone in his private quarters or drinking alcohol with his pupils, it was described during the hearing how this was common practice at the time.
Miles did admit providing Pupil A with alcohol. However, he argued that this was permitted during this period and stressed they did not drink together.
Later he also agreed they had met one-to-one in his quarters but said: “This was normal behaviour at the time and I always had my door open.”
The accusations against Miles
Panel chair Mona Sood told how the allegations included Miles “discussing interests of a sexual nature with Pupil A, inviting him to have sexual contact with him and encouraging him to undress”.
The hearing was told Miles also accepted invitations to events and meals with Pupil A’s family and taught him to drive.
The panel heard how after celebrating a friend’s birthday, Pupil A had returned to his boarding house intoxicated.
Miles said that after hearing a banging sound he went to check on the boy and found him in his room having been sick down his shirt and wet himself.
Pupil A then described how Miles took him to his own private bathroom, despite having to pass the student washrooms, and told him to get undressed before getting him into the bath.
While he was in the bath, Pupil A recalled how the teacher entered the room despite him being naked and proceeded to try and touch his genitals.
Miles said that at the time the school infirmary was refusing to deal with drunken pupils and he had no choice but to deal with the situation himself. But another former housemaster told the panel he would have woken up another pupil to help in the same situation.
The panel found this allegation to be true.
Another incident described took place a year later after Pupil A had been out for an evening with friends.
The boy returned late to the boarding house resulting in Miles, his housemaster, becoming angry.
The former pupils recalls Miles toffering him a choice of punishments - one through the official channels or one of his own devising.
Despite Pupil A requesting an official punishment he said Miles continued with his planned discipline and asked the child to pull down his trousers.
Pupil A then described how Miles placed his hands on his bottom before trying to sexually touch him.
The panel found this supported their conclusion that Miles was guilty of a pattern of behaviour outside the boundaries of a student-teacher relationship and trying to establish an intimate or sexual relationship with a pupil.
The panel also heard that Miles had taken Pupil A to multiple concerts.
Pupil A told the panel that before one event they changed into their tuxedos together. He said after the performance they stayed the night at a friend's house and Miles offered him champagne before asking him to touch him sexually.
Miles told the panel that Pupil A didn’t feel able to talk to his parents about sex and asked him for advice.
Pupil A described how during one conversation they discussed sexuality and recalled how he told Miles that he “wasn’t interested in older men”.
Miles, who was the chairman of King’s School’s charity committee between 2002 and 2020, admitted using sexual innuendo in jokes made with the victim. But he denied showing Pupil A pornography on a CD-ROM confiscated from another student.
The panel heard how on another occasion he plied the boy with alcohol, stroked his hair and encouraged him to sit on his lap while he aroused.
Miles denied this, saying: “If I had [been aroused] I never would have wanted Pupil A to know about it. It would have been very embarrassing.”
He argued he had only ever asked the boy to sit on the arm of his chair but admitted he would not do the same now.
Miles also contacted Pupil A’s parents and got them to give permission for the child to stay at the boarding house alone during school holidays.
After the pupil left King’s to attend university, Miles met him once more.
The pair stayed overnight at a friend’s home but when Pupil A went to sign the guest book he says Miles leant into him from behind, pushing their bodies together.
Pupil A said he then pushed his former boarding housemaster away leading to what he called a “small tussle”.
The only allegation that the panel did not find to have been proven was Pupil A’s assertion that he had caught Miles peeping through his keyhole on multiple occasions, including when he was changing and while he was having sex with his girlfriend.
How Miles’s behaviour came to light
Pupil A told the hearing that he raised his concerns about how he was being treated with Miles himself at the time but he didn’t feel able to go directly to school bosses.
Miles failed to pass the accusations made to his superiors and King’s was unaware of the historic allegations until another former student, referred to as Pupil C, emailed them in May of 2020.
In response to this email, the school immediately launched an investigation, interviewing three former pupils and Miles himself.
The same day, King’s notified the police of the allegations but the force decided not to investigate after learning Pupil A had chosen to remain anonymous.
Following this, almost three months later, Miles retired from King’s on August 25 and was honoured with a write-up by then headmaster, Peter Roberts, in the school’s magazine.
In the article in The Cantuarian, Mr Roberts, who was the head of King’s for 11 years, praised his former colleague for his “rigour” and “patience with the young mind”.
It wasn’t until October of that year that King’s informed the Disclosure and Barring Service of the accusations.
Due to the historic nature of the allegations, none of the pupils involved are still at the school.
How has the King’s School responded?
The revelations have rocked King’s, which is steeped in history and tradition, having been educating children for more than 1,400 years.
Fees for boarding at the highly selective school can today cost parents £14,830 per term.
Head teacher Jude Lowson has this week written to alumni to make them aware of the “sensitive situation”.
King’s has also given statement to KentOnline regarding the accusations.
A spokesperson for the school said: “We are deeply saddened and shocked by this case, which involves a former member of staff and events which took place in the 1990s.
“We wholeheartedly apologise to those who have been affected and are offering our full support.
“As soon as we were made aware of the allegations, we reported them to all relevant agencies and we have worked closely with them throughout, carefully following their advice.
“Alongside this, with the approval of these authorities we also engaged an independent safeguarding expert to conduct a full investigation.
“Keeping our pupils safe is our top priority and we take our safeguarding responsibilities extremely seriously.
“While there can never be room for complacency, safeguarding procedures at the school today are robust, rigorous and regularly reviewed to ensure they continue to be in line with enhanced best practice and national standards, with staff receiving regular safeguarding training.”
What is next for Miles?
The Teaching Regulation Agency was satisfied that Miles’ behaviour breached the standards required of teachers and ruled he was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.
While Miles denies his behaviour was sexually motivated, the panel chair Mona Sood said: “The panel concluded that this conduct could not be anything other than sexually motivated and for his own sexual gratification.
“There was no other reason for this behaviour from a teacher to a pupil other than seeking a sexual relationship.”
The panel was satisfied that Miles’ behaviour breached the standards required of teachers and ruled he was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.
On Thursday, Ms Sood concluded the hearing by withdrawing the panel to discuss whether a prohibition order would be appropriate for Mr Miles.
This means he would be prevented from teaching in a school, including independent schools, sixth-form colleges, youth custody settings and children's homes.
The panel will make their decision in private and Miles will be told of the result via letter.
Representing Miles, barrister Gurpreet Rheel said: “Mr Miles thanks the panel but respectfully disagrees with their findings, particularly in regard to the motivations of Pupil A.
“However he appreciates their close attention to the case. It has been difficult for Mr Miles to process.
“Given his impeccable record of teaching before these allegations, he will look back fondly on his many years of teaching.
“He is now approaching 70 and has no intention of returning to teaching.”
Detective Chief Inspector Ian Wadey of Kent Police’s Protecting Vulnerable People Command said: “We do not underestimate the severe impact sexual offences have on victims and understand that sometimes they feel unable to speak about the crimes committed against them.
“It is unfortunately not always possible to progress a criminal investigation when a victim has not reported an offence or disclosed their identity, as without their testimony or any other evidence there is often no realistic prospect of bringing the case to court.
“On such occasions Kent Police will still record the alleged offences and engage with any relevant partners to ensure any appropriate safeguarding measures are in place.”