Tribunal rules grammar school teacher can continue in profession despite conviction for assault
PUBLISHED: 14:06 10 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:25 12 October 2020
A disciplinary tribunal opted to allow former Wisbech Grammar School teacher Mark Jarvis to continue in the profession despite a conviction for assaulting a student.
“The panel accepted that Mr Jarvis’s actions were not deliberate but were reckless,” says the findings of a professional conduct hearing.
The Teaching Regulatory Agency concluded at a private hearing via video that “a prohibition order would prevent Mr Jarvis from teaching. It would also clearly deprive the public of his contribution to the profession for the period that it is in force”.
Sarah Buxcey, revealing the outcome of the hearing on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education, said his behaviour was “at the less serious end of the spectrum.
“Having considered the strength of the mitigating factors that were present, the panel determined that a recommendation for a prohibition order would not be appropriate”.
She said the panel felt publication of the adverse findings would be “sufficient to send an appropriate message to the teacher as to the standards of behaviour that were not acceptable.
“Publication would meet the public interest requirement of declaring proper standards of the profession”.
Mr Jarvis taught design technology and was hockey coach at the school - where fees can rise to £13,750 a year – from 2012 to 2018.
He was suspended in June following an incident but had resigned earlier for “reasons unrelated to this matter” said the tribunal. His employment ended on the expiry of his resignation notice on August 31. On December 3 he was charged with assault by beating.
In February 2019 he admitted the offence of battery and was fined £616, costs of £135, compensation of £151 to the pupil and a victim surcharge of £61.
The conviction arose after Mr Jarvis told a pupil to remove chewing gum and put it into his hand.
“You then asked the pupil to put his hands up and proceeded to launch a kick towards the pupil,” the tribunal noted.
It said Mr Jarvis had admitted his foot made contact with the pupil in his thigh/groin area.
“Agreed facts confirms that the court found that your actions were unintentional but reckless and that you were found guilty of reckless assault amounting to battery”, said the panel.
It heard that evidence from fellow pupils supported the notion that the incident was “a bit jokey” and “not serious or aggressive” and that when Mr Jarvis spoke with the pupil concerned, he was “smiling and laughing, not aggressive”.
The panel said they concurred with the magistrates’ view that it was “horse play”.
In deciding not to issue a prohibition order, the panel accepted that Mr Jarvis was acting completely out of character.
They accepted evidence from multiple sources of his excellent record, a former line manager, once providing a reference for him, explaining that he “fulfilled and surpassed all expectations, shows clear direction, professional standards and exemplary classroom management and commitment”.
Hockey umpires, parents, and a charity which Mr Jarvis supports also gave testimonials.
“Mr Jarvis has expressed that he is sorry for any pain suffered by the pupil,” said the tribunal. They also heard how he regrets not deploying agreed school policies “rather than addressing a potential detention scenario in a light-hearted manner. He now recognises the pressure he was under led him to making a poor decision.
“He has spent numerous hours every day reflecting on why he behaved in such a way and how he could have handled it better”.
Until last night (Friday) Mr Jarvis, a former RAF engineer, was shown on the Littleport Academy as having joined them this summer.
However, a spokesman said “I can confirm a Mark Jarvis is not an employee of Littleport and East Cambs Academy / The Active Learning Trust”. The statement was later removed from the academy website.
Outside of teaching, Mr Jarvis has been an umpire within the English Hockey National League, and works with England Hockey to train coaches and umpires.
He has been part of a coaching team developing hockey within West Africa.
He has also been a prolific fund raiser for charity and has been part of a group that raised over £500,000 for Macmillan Cancer.
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