A former teacher at a Sheffield school who exchanged inappropriate emails with pupils, leaving one girl believing they were a couple, has been banned from the country’s classrooms.
Ali Ghalib is barred from teaching for at least two years after a disciplinary panel found him guilty of unacceptable conduct at Longley Park Sixth Form College – where he was a teacher from 2004 to 2012.
In September 2012, a parent of one student raised concerns about texts exchanged between Ghalib and her 17-year-old daughter. He was suspended immediately.
An internal investigation found emails between Ghalib and other current and former pupils. He was dismissed in the December.
A National College for Teaching and Leadership panel found that, between May and September 2012, Ghalib had ‘engaged in an inappropriate relationship’, sending private emails to the 17-year-old - ‘Pupil A’ - and ending them with a ‘x’.
He referred to her as his ‘favourite’, his ‘number one’ and ‘babe’, and sent her over 500 texts.
Ghalib spent time with her alone in the college, kissed her on the forehead and embraced her.
The girl believed they were in a secret relationship.
Ghalib told the panel he had always received feedback that he was naturally charismatic and had an excellent rapport with students.
He said his intention was to ‘make her feel special’.
And the panel ruled that although the girl was led into ‘a mistaken view’ of the nature of their relationship, Ghalib did not deliberately intend for that to happen.
“His behaviour was certainly inappropriate, but it was not consciously intended to have the effect it did,” the panel said.
But Ghalib was also found to have engaged in inappropriate emails with another girl, Pupil B, for three years between 2006 and 2009, during her final exams.
And the panel found he engaged in inappropriate communication with an ex-student, Pupil C, and another current student Pupil D.
Pupil E referred to having a ‘schoolgirl crush’ on Ghalib, with whom she exchanged emails about underwear.
Giving a final decision on behalf of the Secretary of State, NCTL deputy director Alan Meyrick said: “The panel has found Mr Ghalib had a number of inappropriate relationships with pupils.”
Though he said the panel did not find sexual motivation on the part of Ghalib, the language and content of the emails did include ‘sexually explicit references’ and Ghalib’s behaviour fell ‘significantly short of that expected of a teacher’.
Making a Prohibition Order, with a two-year review period, he added: “His behaviour, over a long period of time, was serious.”
Ghalib has the right of appeal to the High Court.