Cambridgeshire

Sawtry Village Academy: Ex-head James Stewart banned for life

James Stewart Image copyright Cambs Police
Image caption James Stewart spent thousands of pounds furnishing his suite of offices, which contained sex toys and condoms

A jailed school principal who kept sex toys in his office and defrauded his academy out of almost £100,000 has been banned from teaching for life.

James Stewart, 74, was executive principal at Sawtry Village Academy in Cambridgeshire until 2014.

He was jailed for four years after admitting misconduct and fraud in 2017.

A Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) hearing ruled his "calculated, motivated and sustained actions" brought the profession into disrepute.

In 2017, Huntingdon Law Courts heard he spent thousands furnishing his offices at the school, where sex toys and condoms were found.

He also claimed more than £85,000 from the school to pay off debts on personal credit cards and claimed £6,000 in expenses to cover household bills.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Stewart's suite of offices was "much better furnished than the rest of the school, which was in need of repair and decoration", the court heard in 2017

A TRA professional conduct panel met last month to consider Stewart's future as a teacher.

A decision to ban him for life from teaching in any children's or youth education institution in England was taken in his absence.

The panel report said it was satisfied Stewart had been made aware of the hearing and "considered the teacher had waived his right to participate".

The panel accepted Stewart previously had a good record but "found no evidence that the teacher's actions were not deliberate, nor was he acting under duress".

"In fact, the panel found the teacher's actions to be calculated, motivated and sustained for a number of years," the report stated.

Stewart has the right to appeal against the TRA panel decision.

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