This Week It Was Revealed How This Married Teacher Seduced a 16-Year-Old Boy in Her class.And Guess What, It's at the School Praised for Its Liberal Sex Education Policy That Was Hit by a Scandal over Teenage Pregnancies. Coincidence? You Decide; Abuse of Trust: Jo Gorman Is Now Banned from Working in Any School
Byline: Helen Weathers
FOR a school which prides itself on the high quality of its pastoralcare and commitment to the emotional, physical and sexual health of its pupils,it would be hard to imagine a more embarrassing scandal.
Award-winning Paignton Community College in Devon, lauded for its pioneeringsexual health advice service for students, has found its nemesis in the form ofits now disgraced English teacher, a 28-year-old married woman called JoGorman, herself once a star pupil at the college.
This week it emerged that Mrs Gorman had been sacked from the school followinga disciplinary hearing, having been suspended last November over the 'sexualtouching' of a 16-year-old male pupil for which she also received a policecaution.
Photos of the pair were seemingly taken on mobile phoneswhich reportedly rapidly spread after being sent to other pupils.
What a nightmare for the college which became the first school in the SouthWest to be singled out by the National Society for the Protection of Cruelty toChildren as a 'Listening School'a status only achieved once a designated standard has been reached relating tofour aspects of health education promoting the welfare of its pupils.
And what will the mandarins in the Department of Education think? For thecollege has been held up as a shining example to the rest of Britain after itset up its controversial Tic Tac centre, offering advice to students on allmanner of issues including sexual health.
Indeed, the college's own policy document on safeguarding children reads: 'Allstaff believe that our school should provide a caring, positive, safe andstimulating environment that promotes the social, physical and moraldevelopment of the individual child.' One member of staff, however, was clearlynot singing from the same songsheet. Indeed, Jo Gorman's actions, which haveshocked and angered parents, might well have been stimulating but there wascertainly nothing moral about them.
Coming hot on the heels of headlines last year about teenage pregnancies at theschoolex-pupil Kizzy Neal fell pregnant at 13 and is now the 15-year-old mother of aneightmonth-old son, while pupil Charlotte Maddox became a teen mum at 13 almosttwo years ago it means parents are at their wits' end.
One 43-year-old parent, whose 15-year-old daughter was taught by Mrs Gorman,said last night: 'I feel absolutely disgusted at what's happened. When mydaughter came home and told me, I just couldn't believe it.
What on earth was this teacher thinking of? 'When I met her, she seemed themost normal person in the world. Not tarty, nothing over the top, just normal.That's what makes it so hard to believe.
'I was told the boy had managed to keep the back. A friend of the couple saythat relationship secret but a friend of his found a compromising picture ofMrs Gorman on his phone and word got out.
'What responsible teacher would allow this to happen? She'd only been married ayear and her husband worked at the school, too. If it had been a male teachersexually touching a female student, all hell would have broken loose, but itseems to me the whole episode has been smoothed over.
'At least she'll never be able to work with children again, but it'soutrageous. I feel so angry I've persuaded my daughter not to stay on in thesixth-form. She's going to college instead. I'm not happy with the school, nothappy at all.' Last night Mrs Gorman and her husband Craig, 28, who works atthe school as the head of the IT department, were not answering the door attheir [pounds sterling]200,000 seafront home. She is not expected to appeal against the resultof the disciplinary hearing.
The former rising star, who won the college's Linden Challenge Cup as its bestA-level student 11 years ago, must be wondering how she allowed herself tothrow away her career on a relationship with a teenage pupil, albeit aseemingly willing one. …