Gifts and webchat teacher suspended

A FORMER teacher at a Doncaster school has been suspended from the profession after buying gifts for three Year Seven girls and chatting to them on the internet.

The General Teaching Council's Professional Conduct Committee found Vishaal Panday "guilty of unacceptable professional conduct" whilst at Northcliffe School, Conisbrough, during 2008.

Suspending him for two years, chairman Andy Connell said he "behaved inappropriately" towards the pupils.

He said Mr Panday's conduct in communicating with two of the pupils on MSN Messenger Chat was "clearly inappropriate".

Finding Mr Panday had also given gifts to the pupils as well as to a third, he said he had been warned not to favour particular pupils. He said the gifts had been given to particular female pupils "outside any formal rewards system operating in the school".

He said Mr Panday also engaged in "inappropriate discussions" with the three pupils on subjects, including a near naked female in the town centre, and winning money by gambling.

Mr Panday also offered to obtain Fitness First passes for pupils, showed them personal holiday photographs, and wrote notes to enable pupils to miss lessons.

But the Committee rejected allegations he offered to buy concert tickets for pupils and booked a holiday in Cornwall to overlap with one of the three pupils' holiday at the same destination.

Suspending Mr Panday, Mr Connell said: "The actions of the teacher in using the MSN system, including asking personal questions and using the system late at night, brings the profession into disrepute. The Committee is further concerned that Mr Panday made clear to the two female pupils he did not want to remain online when others joined the discussion.

"It is accepted that there was no sexual content to the MSN discussion, but Mr Panday's actions were entirely inappropriate.

"The purchasing of gifts was also unacceptable, not least in circumstances where Mr Panday had received an earlier warning and was showing favouritism and his actions represented the targeting of the same female pupils. The inappropriate discussion also represented unacceptable professional conduct given the content of the conversation including references to gambling and a scantily clad female.

"The conduct was serious but we have seen no evidence of harmful deep-seated personality or attitudinal problems."

He noted Mr Panday's previous good character.

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