A London teacher has been banned from the profession after he spun a web of lies and accused a young pupil of being a bully. Ben Singh Sowerby, 36, applied for a job at Corbets Tey School in February 2020 but lied about wage, previous role and supplied false references.
Mr Sowerby got the job at Corbets Tey, a special school in Upminster, but in November 2020 his house of cards began to collapse and he resigned. He was referred to the Teaching Regulation Agency and last month (March 2022) a misconduct hearing was held over allegations against him.
The hearing was told that on his application for Corbets Tey Mr Sowerby said he had previously held the role of Acting Deputy Head Teacher at East London Independent School (ELIS), which was not true. He also stated that his salary at ELIS was £45,000 when his true salary was £40,695. His dishonesty earned him a pay rise to £47,300 when he got the job.
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When the application form asked him to provide the contact details of his line manager, he provided the contact details of two teachers – neither of whom were his line manager and one of whom didn’t even work at ELIS. The panel found that his behaviour “was both dishonest and lacked integrity” which gave them “grave doubts as to Mr Sowerby’s ability and professionalism”.
The tribunal also heard that on or around September 23, 2020, Mr Sowerby had been “inappropriate” during telephone calls with parents. He disclosed children’s personal details in relation to individual needs and made unfounded allegations of bullying by a child.
He also continued to lie, this time to parents rather than to the school. He told parents that he had previously been rated “outstanding” as a teacher by Ofsted, when this wasn’t true.
Mr Sowerby denied all the allegations against him. He told the panel that he had been under “great hassle” when working, and that his actual previous salary had been just over £40,000, but he believed them to be in the same salary range and “was not attempting to mislead” anyone.
However, the panel found all allegations against Mr Sowerby proven. A misconduct report said: “The panel considered that Mr Sowerby’s actions were deliberate. There was no evidence to suggest that Mr Sowerby was acting under duress. It was submitted on his behalf that Mr Sowerby’s actions arose as a result of stress he was under whilst at his previous school and that he was suffering pain due to an injury sustained at work during that period. The panel did not, however, consider that those factors adequately explained, or justified, the misconduct that was found proven.”
A prohibition order was imposed meaning Mr Sowerby will be barred from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach at any school or sixth form college. A review will take place in five years.
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