Clifton College former teacher had sex with pupil after kiss in car

A notice was put up in the school asking people not to speak to the press, a disciplinary panel was told
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A former teacher at Clifton College had sex with a pupil after kissing her in a car while employed by the school, a Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) panel heard.

Stuart Blan has been banned from teaching indefinitely after a disciplinary panel found he had sexual relations with the unnamed pupil during his employment at the top independent school in 2004.

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A report on the panel’s findings also revealed that Clifton College dropped its investigation into allegations over the 53-year-old having an inappropriate relationship with a pupil due to ‘insufficient evidence’, after being tipped off five years ago.

Evidence also showed a notice was also put up in the school asking people not to speak to the press at the time of rumours circulating over a relationship between a teacher and pupil, while Mr Blan was employed at the school.

Instead, it took a TRA panel to investigate the matter at a meeting on August 16 this year, which Mr Blan did not attend or send representation.

The panel heard how Mr Blan had worked at Clifton College between 1994 and 2000 as a science teacher. He returned to the school for a period in 2004 between September and November when he was physics teacher and Head of Year. Between the two periods he was at Canford College near Bournemouth.

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But it was when he worked at the British School Al Khubairat (BSAK) in Abu Dhabi, from 2007 to 2017, when allegations came to light that he had formed a relationship with a former pupil at Clifton College in the 2004/05 academic year.

What did Mr Blan do?

The panel heard how the teacher first met the pupil in September 2004 and he soon offered her one-to-one training sessions on at least a weekly basis where there was flirtation.

Mr Blan then offered her driving practice, and on one such occasion they kissed in the car near woodland. The pupil described it as ‘snogging’ in her statement to the panel.

There were then further occassions at Clifton College when the pair kissed, said the pupil, including in a staff room.

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“Pupil E described that Mr Blan guided her into the room and kissed her, before they returned to their respective lessons,” the panel’s report said.

“The panel found as a fact that the kissing as described by Pupil E constituted sexual relations,” it continued.

Shortly after the occassion when they kissed in the car, the pair had sex - during a period when Mr Blan was still teaching at the school, the panel found.

The pair’s relationship continued into the summer of 2005.

Clifton College - where Stuart Blan kissed a pupil in a staff room. The pair later has sex in a car.  Clifton College - where Stuart Blan kissed a pupil in a staff room. The pair later has sex in a car.
Clifton College - where Stuart Blan kissed a pupil in a staff room. The pair later has sex in a car.

What did Mr Blan say?

In a statement sent to the panel, Mr Blan admitted that he had sexual relations with the pupil during the 2004/05 academic year - but said it was from December 2004 after he had left the school.

The panel did not accept this, however.

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He also said that in the early December, he asked the parents of the pupil if he could date their daughter. But, again, the panel said a relationship between the pair had already been formed at this stage.

When they first met, Mr Blan said the pupil had ‘made a flirtatious comment’. The panel said it was the responsibility of Mr Blan, ‘as the responsible adult to discourage any inappropriate behaviour and report it to the appropriate senior leader’.

What did the panel say?

The panel found that a sexual relationship had started between Mr Blan and the pupil before he left the school in November 2004 - and it lasted until the summer of 2005.

It was found that Mr Blan had breached teaching standards, in that he failed to maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour by not observing proper boundardies and not having regard for need to safeguard pupils’ well-being.

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Mr Blan had also admitted to using intimidatory behaviour and language to pupils at Canford College while a teacher, and to failing to disclose to BSAK that he had been a teacher at Clifton College in 2004.

The report said: “The panel was satisfied that the conduct of Mr Blan amounted to misconduct of a serious nature which fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession.

“Mr Blan had breached boundaries by engaging in a sexual relationship with a pupil, failed to treat pupils with dignity by using intimidatory behaviour and language, and been found to be lacking integrity in that he failed to disclose his full employment history.”

What Clifton College say

A spokesperson for the college said the panel’s findings are a reminder of the important of ‘our ongoing vigilance and improvement, to which we remain wholly committed’.

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They said: “Clifton College notes, with utmost seriousness, the findings of the TRA in relation to the inappropriate and abhorrent behaviour of a former teacher who left the school in 2004.

“We would like to extend our sincere apologies to those students who were affected at that time.

“Today’s Clifton adopts a very different approach – one in which we continually seek to apply rigorous standards of child protection to all our processes and take a child-centred view of every decision we make, in partnership with the Local Authority Designated Officer and other statutory bodies who play a critical role in helping us to keep our pupils as safe as possible.”

Mr Blan was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and has been banned from teaching indefinitely. The report can be seen here.

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