Teacher Banned After Facebook Messages To Teen Pupil

A teacher has been banned after sending Facebook messages to a 16-year-old pupil, telling her: "You looked hot at the prom."

John Berry, 27, who worked at Our Lady's RC High in Blackley, Manchester, sent a friend request to the girl after they both attended the school's Year 11 leavers' ball - and then sent her messages saying she had looked 'hot' and 'fit'.

He also asked to exchange mobile numbers with the girl and quizzed her on her sexual preferences.

The girl became distressed and told her mother, who raised the alarm, the Manchester Evening News reports.

The teacher was called into the head's office and they went through his Facebook history - where it emerged he had searched for 12 female pupils with the intention of befriending them ahead of the prom.

Berry was suspended from work in July 2013 pending a full investigation, during which he said he did not think it was inappropriate to contact children aged 16 to 18 on Facebook.

But he resigned in September 2013 - a month before investigators concluded that he should be dismissed.

Berry has now been handed a lifetime prohibition order following a meeting of a professional conduct panel of the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

Paul Heathcote, who made the decision on behalf of Education Secretary Michael Gove, said: "Mr Berry abused his position of trust and blurred the boundaries appropriate to a teacher's professional position.

"This was misconduct that could seriously affect the well-being of pupils."

James Keulemans, the school's headteacher, said: "This former member of staff was suspended as soon as concerns came to light last year.

"A report was also made to the police at the same time.

"We take the safety and well-being of pupils very seriously and all appropriate safeguarding procedures were followed."