Headteacher banned for life after being found with explicit pornography on work iPhone

A headteacher who kept porn on her work phone and stole £350 from a PTA collection to pay towards her mortgage has been banned from teaching for life. Catherine Jones, 42, is a married mum-of-two and has also been found guilty of a string of other misconduct offences, including ‘cheating’ in national exams. The former history teacher was promoted to the headteacher of Stoneleigh Academy – now Willowpark Academy, in Oldham, Greater Manchester, in September 2012

In March 2016, school sponsors were told of worries about Ms Jones by two colleagues and she was suspended. An investigation exposed a number of misconduct offences including recording and storing porn on her school phone.

A misconduct panel heard that when she was given a new work iPhone in June 2015, she asked an IT apprentice to back up her previous iPhone pictures to her laptop. The IT staff said ‘when backing up the device, he had seen images of an explicit sexual nature’ while two other staff reported seeing ‘images of explicit sexual acts’ and ‘explicit sexual activity’. She also used the phone to insult fellow staff, texting a colleague ‘personal information about members of staff and inappropriate and derogatory comments’.

Added to that she posted jokes in poor taste and vulgar comments on her Facebook page, along with strong personal and political opinions. She was also blasted over the absence of correct safeguarding practices, child protection and the proper administration of financial and educational resources at the school. The Teaching Regulation Agency panel in Coventry also concluded she had altered pupils’ marks in the SATs exams and used other subterfuge to improve the results. Ms Jones, from Oldham, did not attend the hearing. Decision maker Alan Meyrick, for the Education Secretary, said: ‘I have considered the panel’s comments.

‘These behaviours include serious dishonesty – theft of school resources and cheating in national exams. ‘Cheating in this way undermines the integrity of national examinations and seriously undermines public confidence in the examination system.’

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