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Maths teacher who sent ‘sexually motivated’ texts to pupil banned from classroom for two years

Ex Ysgol Bryn Alyn, Wrexham teacher Matthew Nichols was found guilty of unacceptable professional misconduct by teaching panel

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Matthew Nichols, 29 pictured outside the hearing in Ewloe (Photo: © ANDREW PRICE/View Finder Pict)

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A maths teacher who sent sexually motivated texts to a teenage girl pupil has been banned from the classroom for two years.

Matthew Nichols, 29, can only return to teaching in Wales when his application is approved by the Education Workforce Council.

The decision came after a three-day hearing of the panel at Ewloe in Flintshire.

The former Ysgol Bryn Alyn, Wrexham teacher was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by the panel in March.

Matthew Nichols leaving the hearing in Ewloe
Matthew Nichols leaving the hearing in Ewloe (Photo: Andrew Price View Finder)

Chairman Richard Parry Jones said Mr Nichols had shown “limited insight” into his behaviour.

“The committee are not entirely confident there’s no risk of repetition of conduct found proved in this case,” he added.

The hearing heard that police found 425 texts between Pupil A, who was under 16, and Mr Nichols across a six-day period, some of which had been judged to be sexually motivated.

‘Highly inappropriate’

Messages sent to a second girl pupil, Pupil B, were not sexually motivated but were “highly inappropriate”, the panel ruled.

The messages were sent between July and September 2015.

Mr Parry Jones said Mr Nichols had crossed inappropriate boundaries by sending his messages to both girls, failing to have regard to the safety and wellbeing of two vulnerable pupils and his conduct could have a detrimental emotional effect.

It was not isolated but deliberate and he had ignored his regular “safeguarding” training and a rule not to use social networking with pupils without the express permission from the headteacher.

“These were serious incidents of unprofessional conduct,” he added.

The teaching ban was necessary to uphold proper standards of professional conduct and to maintain public confidence.

‘Sufficient to sharpen his moral compass’

A previous hearing was told that late-night texts included disclosure of sensitive information about the teacher’s girlfriend, references to hugs in the woods, kissing under the mistletoe, breaking the rules, “just stripped down and jumped in to bed,” “cute smile” and keeping secrets.

An investigation began after two girl pupils approached a pastoral support assistant because of concerns about texts to their friend.

Barrister Martin Mensah, for Mr Nichols, said he had undertaken counselling: “He’s reflected and taken a view, albeit belatedly, on what’s right and what’s wrong and what’s acceptable and not acceptable.

“The events although of his own making have been sufficient to sharpen his moral compass.”

Mr Mensah told the the three-strong disciplinary panel: “He is engaged to his girlfriend and his focus is on her rather than foolish behaviour.”

The barrister said it was accepted Mr Nichols had been reckless, but there was no risk of repetition.

He had lost his job because of what had happened.

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