Former teacher at John Ruskin School in Coniston banned for life

A FORMER Coniston teacher who was jailed for sex crimes involving a former student has now been banned from classrooms nationwide for life.

Mark Craster-Chambers, 56, who taught at John Ruskin School, Coniston, but quit teaching in 2017 was jailed at Carlisle Crown Court in April last year for 18 months after being found guilty of two sexual activity offenses while in a position of trust.

He was also on the sex offender registry for ten years.

Now, on the recommendation of a Teaching Regulatory Agency (TRA) disciplinary committee, Craster-Chambers, who still denies the breaches, has been banned from teaching for life.

In its findings, the TRA panel said that despite his conviction and the sentence he had received for the offences, Craster-Chambers “vigorously maintained his position that he was not guilty”.

However, in recommending that he be banned for life, the panel says it took into account the comments of the judge who handed down the prison sentence.

They say that when handing down her sentence, the judge told Craster-Chambers, “You knew she was vulnerable. You knew this thanks to the information that was communicated to you in a professional capacity. You knew this because you were a daily visitor to her home.

He continued: “The fact that you engaged in sexual activity with a student you knew was vulnerable was a serious breach of trust.”

In many cases where teachers are banned, the way is left open for them to seek to return to teaching after a certain number of years.

But in this case the panel, in recommending a permanent ban, said it had decided that in the circumstances of the case the ban should be “without provisions for a period of review”.

Supporting the views of the panel and imposing the ban on behalf of Education Secretary, TRA decision-maker Alan Meyrick said: ‘Findings of misconduct are particularly serious as they include a finding to engage in a sexual activity in a position of trust. ”

He said this was a case where the severity of the convictions and the lack of insight on the part of Craster-Chambers meant it was necessary to impose a ban without a review period in order to maintain confidence. public in the teaching profession.

Craster-Chambers has the right to challenge the decision in the High Court.

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