“At no time was any child at risk,” the headteacher of Mickle Trafford Village School has said of an incident when her predecessor allowed her convict son on to the premises despite his criminal record for viewing indecent images of children.
Former head Julia Griffiths was banned from teaching after it emerged that her work laptop had been used to access gay porn and that she had allowed her son – who lived with her and had volunteered at the primary school in the past – to enter the school grounds, The Chronicle reported yesterday.
The 57-year-old was struck off after the secretary of state for education’s decision-maker agreed with a National College of Teaching and Leadership panel that she was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.
In a letter sent to parents and carers, current headteacher Wendy Lyon stressed that ‘an immediate and full internal review’ of any potential interactions Mrs Griffiths’ son had with pupils was instigated by the school’s senior management team as soon as his arrest came to light in September 2014, when he was no longer a volunteer, which resulted in controls being ‘strengthened’.
The letter goes on to state that external investigations established that all his voluntary visits prior to his arrest adhered to safeguarding procedures.
Later breaching an agreement set up to allow his mum to continue working at Mickle Trafford, the son attended the school in June 2015 just weeks after he was convicted.
But, labelling the incident a ‘safeguarding breach’, Mrs Lyon has sought to reassure parents that their reaction was ‘swift and focused on the protection of the welfare of the children’.
She wrote: “There was no contact whatsoever between the individual in question and any pupil.
“The individual was removed from the premises immediately and at no time was any child at risk.”
Forensic analysis by police of Mrs Griffiths' laptop – which she took home in breach of the aforementioned arrangement – found that pornographic material had been accessed on it.
Mrs Lyon said staff wish to ‘unreservedly apologise’ for any distress caused to their pupils' parents in relation to how the news was broken, but she explained that they were bound by legal constraints as Mrs Griffiths’ resignation in August 2015 was tied to ‘an agreement on non-disclosure’ so they were simply unable to reveal the circumstances surrounding her departure.
“I want to reassure you that the safety and welfare of our pupils has always been and continues to be of the highest priority at Mickle Trafford Village School,” added Mrs Lyon.