A LONG-serving teacher acted with “serious” misconduct after giving students his personal number before retirement. 

Philip Baker was the subject of a Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) misconduct hearing on March 14 and 15 this year, with a report published on Monday.

It related to the time he was working at Beckfoot Thornton School, in Leaventhorpe Lane.

His actions were deemed to be misconduct of a “serious nature” but the now-retired teacher avoided a teaching ban, with the panel choosing not to recommend a prohibition order be imposed.

Baker, who did not attend the hearing, joined the school in 2003 as a history teacher and retired in August 2022.

He was talking to two pupils during their history lesson just before the end of the academic year, in July 2022, when they informed him they had “made a video for him on TikTok to say goodbye before his retirement”, according to the report.

The teacher then took the pupils out of their next lesson and back to his classroom to ask them to help him make a TikTok video of his dog.

He gave them his personal mobile number and asked the students to text him the link to the video they had made because he wanted to show somebody else, the report said. 

The report said Baker also gave them chocolate - a Wispa bar each - and asked one of the pupils to take a selfie of the three of them on his personal phone.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The ordeal happened at the end of the academic year, just before Baker retiredThe ordeal happened at the end of the academic year, just before Baker retired (Image: Other)

Baker claimed in an email that the students “pinged” him so he had their numbers, which he did not ask for, and texted him twice asking if he had left school and whether he would be in before the end of term.

He said: “I think they were worried about not giving me a present they had got for me for my retirement.”

One of the pupils said Baker texted them for the TikTok link on July 19, 2022, but they blocked him.

He then asked the other pupil to send on the message, who responded, “yeah”, before Baker asked for a call for “cheering up”.

This exchange left the pupil feeling “uncomfortable”.

He attempted to call them five times and they did not answer.

A separate student was with them at the time and asked Baker to cease communication, according to the report.

Beckfoot Thornton conducted an investigation and a disciplinary hearing was held on November 23, 2022.

The Local Authority Designated Officer was informed of the outcome, and a referral was made to the TRA.

Baker breached school policies and the Teachers’ Standards with his actions, according to the TRA report.

His conduct also had an impact on three pupils who “all appeared to have felt uncomfortable by his phone contact with them outside of school”.

The TRA said: “Mr Baker was in a position of trust and responsibility as well as a role model.

“The panel considered he ought to have known what was expected of him as a highly experienced teacher, and should have conducted himself accordingly.”

However, the panel decided not to recommend imposing a teaching ban due to several mitigating factors.

The report said Baker had “an otherwise unblemished record over the course of a long career” and this was an isolated episode.

It said: "The panel was not provided with any mitigation from Mr Baker, such as testimonials or a reflective piece.

"The panel did however take into consideration that the events occurred close to the end of term and very shortly before Mr Baker had retired, following a long career in teaching.

"Further, there is no suggestion that Mr Baker’s conduct was sexually motivated and he had fully cooperated with the school’s investigation."

The report said: “The panel was satisfied that he was, certainly initially, mainly focussed on obtaining the TikTok video which had been produced for him as a retirement gift.”

There was positive evidence of Baker’s prior practice as a teacher, such as engagement with pupils in they wished to mark his retirement with the video.

A spokesperson for the Beckfoot Thornton, said: “The safety and wellbeing of our students is our absolute priority.

“In line with our robust safeguarding policies and procedures, we took swift action, referring the matter to the relevant organisations.

“We are unable to comment any further on individual cases.”