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Hillview School for Girls in Tonbridge responds after 'touchy feely' teacher David Spencer struck off

A school has spoken out after one of its senior teachers was struck off for repeated inappropriate behaviour with schoolgirls.

David Spencer, a teacher at Hillview School for Girls in Tonbridge, placed his hands on a girl's thigh and repeatedly asked one pupil to remove her top.

Hillview School for Girls, Brionne Garden, Tonbridge. Picture by: Simon Hildrew(18833446)
Hillview School for Girls, Brionne Garden, Tonbridge. Picture by: Simon Hildrew(18833446)

The 64-year-old joined the Brionne Gardens secondary as a maths teacher in September 2013.

By March 2018 he had been promoted and reminded about his professional behaviour on three occasions.

Yesterday the school's headteacher wrote to parents: "Please be re-assured that Hillview responded quickly, fully and in line with school policy as soon as we were made aware.

"I would like to confirm that there were no criminal proceedings or prosecutions made.

"Whilst I do appreciate that parents would have preferred to be made aware by the school earlier and their daughters informed in a 'managed' way, to do so would have meant sharing personal information about Mr Spencer and the students involved, which is both inappropriate and unlawful.

"Mr Spencer's thumb was on my skirt and the rest of his hand was on my thigh over my tights"Pupil A

"Our focus now is to support the students who were involved through this difficult time."

In December 2014, when he had already been promoted to the school's head of IT, Mr Spencer was given a letter from the deputy head "advising him of how his behaviour needed to improve" after the school received complaints about his behaviour.

Another letter was sent to Spencer in November 2016, this time from the school's human resources manager, that "outlined expectations of his behaviour as set out in the professional teaching standards."

One girl, referred to as Pupil A, told a Teaching Regulation Agency panel: "Mr Spencer leaned forwards and placed his hand on my upper thigh range. Mr Spencer’s thumb was on my skirt and the rest of his hand was on my thigh over my tights."

The panel upheld complaints that Mr Spencer touched pupils' legs, their shoulders and would place his hand on theirs when they were controlling a mouse.

"By failing to maintain proper boundaries between himself and his pupils, Mr Spencer demonstrated a lack of insight into his behaviour..." The Panel

In March 2018 the school told Mr Spencer to use a remote mouse and was warned about leaning over them.

He also repeatedly told one pupil to remove her top, referring to a fleece she was wearing over her uniform.

Mr Spencer described himself in evidence as "touchy feely" and "tactile".

Notes from the hearing read: "The panel was of the view that Mr Spencer had been made fully aware of the shortcomings in his behaviour over a series of meetings and letters. By failing to maintain proper boundaries between himself and his pupils, Mr Spencer demonstrated a lack of insight into his behaviour."

The panel found the behaviour was not sexually motivated.

Hillview School for Girls told KentOnline 'no comment' when we approached them.

Alan Meyrick, chief executive of the Teaching Regulation Agency ruled David Spencer be banned from teaching indefinitely.

He will able to appeal for the ban to be lifted in 2023.

Read more: All the latest news from Tonbridge.

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