A headmaster who told a teacher “you’ve really let yourself go since you got married” has been banned permanently from the profession.
Paul Scott, the former head at Arboretum Primary in Derby, also referred to staff members as “the blonde one”, “the good-looking one” and “the pretty one who lost the baby”, a tribunal was told.
On one occasion, he asked a teacher who was pregnant if she was behaving in a certain way because she was “hormonal”.
The tribunal heard how Scott referred to colleagues as being “on the spectrum bus” and told one teacher “you’ve really let yourself go since you got married”.
A teacher who asked what she needed to do to reach a higher pay band was told: “Seeing you in your underwear would be a really good start.”
The Teaching Regulation Agency ruled he had committed unacceptable professional conduct and he was banned from the profession at a disciplinary hearing in Coventry, West Midlands.
Roger Woods, the panel chair, said: “The panel’s findings against Mr Scott involved inappropriate comments and behaviour of an inappropriate, unprofessional and derogatory nature in relation to various staff members but also, in some instances pupils.”
‘I felt like a piece of meat’
One told the hearing: “I remember one time when I had a T-shirt and a matching cardigan on, and Mr Scott was looking at it and said, ‘I like the way you’ve got the vertical stripes’. I felt like a piece of meat.”
Another said: “One day I was carrying dinosaur pictures and Mr Scott was looking so I said ‘What is it? What are you looking at?’”.
“He said something like ‘I’m distracted, you have pictures of dinosaurs on your breasts’. I just left after he said this.”
Another staff member recalled how she was cradling guinea pigs when Scott entered the room and said: “They’re a nice pair of guinea pigs, I’d like to give them a squeeze.”
And a school worker gave evidence about an occasion when Scott made contact with her when she was standing at a photocopier in a corridor.
She said: “Mr Scott flicked me with his badge on the bum. I can’t remember when this was.
“It was very much in passing but there was no way it could have been accidental as he didn’t need to come anywhere near me and as it was one of those stretchy badges on elastic.
“He had obviously pulled the badge back to flick me. I didn’t say anything to him and he just continued past me afterwards.”
Scott, who had a previously unblemished teaching record, was found to have made all the comments on the balance of probability.
Witnesses lined up to tell the hearing how they were left upset by unacceptable remarks made by Scott, who became head in 2016.
Concerns about headmaster raised in 2019
Staff members raised concerns with the chair of governors in April 2019, leading to Scott’s suspension.
He was found guilty by the tribunal of making inappropriate comments and physical contact with staff members. He was also found to have sexually harassed one woman.
Mr Woods concluded: “As a headteacher and leader, Mr Scott had a responsibility for and a duty of care towards his staff and pupils. He was also a role model. He had clearly fallen short of his obligations and duties in this regard in relation to each of these allegations.
“As well as impacting upon individual staff members and referring to some pupils in a derogatory manner, his actions created a culture at the school which was unacceptable and corrosive.”
He added: “Mr Scott was an experienced teacher and was in a position of trust and responsibility, as a leader, and a role model. He ought to have known what was expected of him and conducted himself accordingly.”
The panel heard that Scott did not “recognise the inappropriate nature of his actions” and believed the comments he made “were acceptable in a school environment”.
He was banned indefinitely and cannot reapply to the teaching register until at least November 2024.