Scots teacher who abused pupils and forced school lockdown

A SCOTS teacher who verbally abused his pupils and then caused the school to go into lockdown after refusing to leave has been struck off.

Steven Charlesworth was found unfit to teach yesterday, following his actions whilst employed as a maths teacher at Milne’s High School, Moray in 2018.

Pictured: Steven Charlesworth. (C) Deadline News

The 57-year-old shouted “who the hell do you think you are?” at a class of third year pupils whilst slamming his fists on tables and doors, leaving the youngsters “frozen in fear”.

The bad-tempered sir had also told pupils they were “stupid” and threatened them – even pulling up their online profiles and telling one girl he could “get hold” of her details and bully her.

When asked to leave the premises by then-headteacher Patricia Cameron following his outburst, Charlesworth refused for 25 minutes, resulting in police being called and a school lockdown issued.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) removed Charlesworth from the teaching register following an investigation into his actions, which saw all allegations found proved.

The panel found Charlesworth’s fitness to practice was impaired, stating: “It’s the panel’s decision to find all the allegations proved in their entirety.

“The teacher’s conduct falls short of the standards expected of a registered teacher and that he is unfit to teach.

“In accordance to rule 2.10.1 of the Fitness to Teach rules 2017 and article 18 of the public services reform of the GTCS Order 2011.

“As the teacher has been found to be unfit to teach the panel must direct that the teacher’s name be removed from the GTCS.”

In his submission to the panel, Presenting Officer Tom McEntegart said: “His behaviour didn’t amount to acting as a role model, it was the opposite of what we expect as a role model to pupils.

“You should work in a collegial and cooperative manner with colleagues and pupils.

“He failed to show respect to his colleagues and did not work in a collegiate cooperative manner.

“The conduct is clearly serious, particularly given its impact on a number of pupils in the class and in regard to the way the teacher acted in his dealings with the headteacher and his refusal to follow what were entirely reasonable instructions given by her resulting in the police needing to be called.

“He sought to blame a small number of somewhat disruptive pupils for what happened in the classroom, albeit regretting the way in which he handled the manner and that being a learning point for him.

“Perhaps more starkly, he blamed the headteacher for what happened in her office and thereafter in the corridor.

Milne High School.
Pictured: Milne’s High School in Fochabers, Moray. (C) Google Maps

“He has failed to properly recognise his own role and culpability in the incident and indeed when being offered the opportunity to comment on that, he appeared to maintain his post that he was entitled to say what he said.

“In my submission, the teacher’s lack of insight is a serious concern. There is no evidence of remediation from any third party in evidence to the teacher.

“There is in my sub insufficient evidence before the panel to allow you that the risk of recurrence is unlikely.

The GTCS previously heard from Patricia Cameron, the former headteacher at Milnes High School, who explained how Charlesworth became verbally abusive with her when confronted over his actions.

The 44-year-old said: “We were in my office and I invited him to have a seat. I told him that I would sit but he just preferred to stand by the door.

“He became aggressive and kept cutting me off [when I tried to speak] I told him the best thing he could do was to go home and call HR for more information.

“He kept asking for policies and procedures and refused point blank to leave, he was shouting at me by this point.

“He followed me out to the edge of the door and I told him if he didn’t leave then I would call the police, he told me to go ahead and call them.

“I was aware that the bell was about to go for lunch and he was unpredictable, I didn’t want anything to happen in front of pupils.

“He stated that he wasn’t leaving without a timesheet and when I said that I would post one out to him he just said he doesn’t do post.

“He said that pupils were badly behaved because of myself and other staff members.”

Charlesworth was later called in to attend a meeting at the school with Quality Improvement Officer Willem Smit, where he was asked to explain his actions.

Giving evidence to the panel last Thursday, Mr Smit had stated: “I only met Steven Charlesworth in the meeting.

“Mr Charlesworth asked if I had been looking at his LinkedIn profile. He stated my name came up as a suggestion.

“I can’t remember if I could tell by [pupils’] body language when recounting what had happened that they had a generally unpleasant experience and were frightened of Mr Charlesworth.

“They all presented as anxious and uncomfortable reliving the experience. Mr Charlesworth had put in a few referrals.

“Mr Charlesworth had seemingly also been shouting and banging on the desk and shouting, ‘Who do you think you are?’

“In my opinion, I believe Mr Charlesworth’s behaviour would have had a lasting impact on some of them.

“The impression was that he had pulled the shutters down, wouldn’t listen to them and told them they had to do what he had said.

“He told all the pupils they were stupid and threatened them.

“The fact he was willing to go into their [online] profiles and share them with the class was not something they wanted.

“He said he could get a hold of one of the girls’ details and said he could bully her. They were bullying him so he would bully them.”

Mr Smit also claimed that Charlesworth hadn’t shown any sign of remorse during the meeting, instead focusing his attention on blaming the pupils and school policies.

He added: “There didn’t seem to be any empathy towards pupils at all.”

Despite the allegations, Charlesworth, who represented himself in the hearing, claimed that the panel and witnesses had “all pulled a consistent story”.

In a final statement in regards to his fitness to teach, smug Charlesworth said: “I think I’m always fit to teach. I’ve always been fit to teach.

“I told you what happened in the school and you’ve chosen to disbelieve me but it doesn’t change what happened, what my recollection is of what I felt or thought at the time.

“It was an isolated event. It wasn’t a good day.

“A lot of the stuff the panel has heard is things that should have never left the guidance departments in school.

“If you see the claims pupils make of their fellow pupils, there’s always been situations that come up with and they are normally dealt with in the school.

“It was entirely unfair for me and shows a complete disregard for the teacher. I am still fit to teach and I’m still a good teacher – I don’t think the panel had all the facts.

“Upon reflection, I like to think I’ve learned from my mistake. I did make mistakes as evident by the charges I’ve actually admitted to.

“Upon reflection, I could have gone about the whole thing differently. By omission and exaggeration, that’s how we got here. The angry shout was a mistake, clearly.

“There was just that one part shouted, I regret that and could have handled that differently. I do regret that the pupils were put in that position.

“I think I was treated quite poorly by professionals. Upon reflection, maybe I should have walked away.”

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