A NEWLY qualified teacher took heroin while providing maternity cover at a large secondary school in Yorkshire.

Neil Hansford, 45, has been banned from teaching for a minimum of four years after he admitted to taking Class A drug heroin at least once while working at High Storrs School, in Sheffield.

A Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) panel found at a hearing on September 29 this year that Hansford "acted secretly" and made reference to acquiring the drug via the dark web, which they found "concerning".

Hansford’s actions were determined to have breached teaching standards and showcased misconduct “of a serious nature”.

This included teachers upholding public trust in the profession and maintaining high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside the school, as well as having a “proper and professional regard” for the “ethos, policies and practices of the school in which they teach”.

A report from the panel, published on December 4, said Hansford “had a dependency upon or issue with drugs” and never reported this to the school, telling the TRA he derived “enjoyment” from the heroin.

He “fully accepted” that between April 2022 and June 2022 he took heroin on at least one occasion.

Hansford joined the school on April 19, 2022 as a maths teacher providing maternity cover.

Within two months, a disclosure was made to High Storrs about Hansford using heroin, after an incident on June 12, 2022.

A witness giving oral evidence during the hearing, who is employed by Minerva Learning Trust – the group that runs High Storrs and five others in the Sheffield area – said the school received a call from Hansford’s partner on June 13, 2022.

The school initially was not provided with specific details as to what happened.

But after referring the matter to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) it received more information regarding Hansford’s drug use, in particular heroin, according to the report.

Hansford admitted to his use of the drug during the school’s disciplinary process.

The report said he repeated that admission to the TRA in various responses and provided a detailed account of his personal history, the events that led to the incident, and his subsequent efforts to rehabilitate.

It added: “With specific reference to the allegation before the panel and whilst Mr Hansford challenged various aspects of the evidence presented to it, he fully accepted that on at least one occasion in this period he took heroin.”

There was no evidence Hansford used drugs at the school, or was ever under the influence in the presence of pupils.

But the report said: “Accordingly, whilst the use of heroin may have taken place outside the education setting, it was directly relevant to the way he fulfilled his teaching role.”

The TRA found the incident meant Hansford was “unable to perform his duties as a teacher” and this had “a consequential impact on the school”.

The report said: “The panel was also satisfied that Mr Hansford's actions may have led to pupils being exposed to, or influenced by, this behaviour in a harmful way had they been made aware of it, not least having regard to the Class A nature of the drug taken.”

Hansford did not attend the hearing and denied that his actions amounted to unacceptable professional conduct or conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.

In mitigation, the report said Hansford was dealing with “personal challenges” at the time and had taken steps to address his drug dependency.

But the TRA concluded Hansford was still "on a journey toward rehabilitation" due to some of the comments made by the 45-year-old and the absence of medical evidence.

There was no evidence of direct harm to pupils and Hansford had apologised for his actions.

Hansford has been banned from teaching “indefinitely” but will be able to appeal the decision in four years’ time.