Prohibition Order: The case of Lone v Secretary of State for Education

Year Published: 2019

Mr Lone was dismissed for gross misconduct from his position following a complaint made by a female colleague. The colleague complained of unwanted messages and emails sent by the Claimant. Following the dismissal, a professional conduct panel for the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) recommended to the Secretary of State that a prohibition order be put in place. This was due to the panel’s view that Mr Lone’s behaviour fell significantly short of the standards expectations as a teacher.

The Department for Education (DfE) states that a prohibition order is likely to be appropriate when ‘the behaviour of the person concerned has been fundamentally incompatible with being a teacher.’ This is a lifetime ban but can be reviewed if a period is specified.

A prohibition order was therefore made against Mr Lone which prevented him from teaching. This resulted in him no longer being allowed to undertake unsupervised teaching work in schools or other settings.

Mr Lone appealed the order on the basis that he had previously been in a consensual sexual relationship with the colleague and that this had not been taken into account. The panel had considered this but did not believe it to be relevant given that, at the time his behaviour was unwelcome and he had repeatedly been asked to stop by the complainant.

Mr Justice William Davis upheld the panel’s finding that any previous relationship was irrelevant. He stated that ‘the real issue was the nature of the conduct by a senior male teacher in his thirties towards a much younger and very junior female colleague. Whether the conduct occurred in the aftermath of an affair did not affect the issue.’ Additionally, it was not clear if an affair had taken place as the complainant denied any such relationship.

As a result of the order, Mr Lone’s details will also be added to a prohibited list. Schools are expected to check this list and update their own single central record to show they have done so. Schools which fail to check the list put both pupils and staff at risk. They can also face an Ofsted inspection should any failures be reported.

For more information regarding prohibition orders or Education / HR related matters, contact our Employment team on 0161 475 7676 or email [email protected].

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