A PRIMARY school teacher “squeezed” the leg of a pupil and called her “my sweetheart”.

Derek Hoyle, 63, was banned from the profession for at least two years after a Teaching Regulations Agency (TRA) hearing between June 10 and June 12 this year.

Hoyle became a peripatetic – a visiting – music teacher at Gildersome Primary School, in Town Street, Leeds on January 3, 2017.

The panel said in a report, published on Tuesday, that Hoyle inappropriately touched the leg of a pupil - Pupil A - and also touched the leg of another student - Pupil B - several years ago.

But they determined that his actions were not sexually motivated.

Hoyle “emphatically and repeatedly denied having a sexual motivation” and his evidence had been that each time he had touched a pupil he had a different motivation, according to the report.

An example was Hoyle admitting that over the course of his career he had patted pupils on the head or back to congratulate them.

Pupil A reported to a witness that Hoyle had “touched her leg two or three times” in lessons.

Pupil A’s report included saying Hoyle had “placed his hand on her thigh” and “squeezed her leg”.

A referral form sent to the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) said Hoyle had “sat next to [Pupil A] and squeezed her knee”.

Hoyle denied this happened and claimed Pupil A would have been standing up and he “would not be sitting down next to her” and said he “never touched her”.

But the panel later heard evidence from him that he did “incidentally touch pupils in the course of teaching” - whether accidentally, putting music stands up or helping them with their instruments for example, or to praise them.

The witness found Pupil A’s account credible because she “was emotionally mature and had been ‘quite composed’ when she spoke to her", according to the report.

Hoyle initially said she was a “good pupil and had been attentive in music lessons”.

But he made attempts later to discredit Pupil A, suggesting she had “got together” with three other students to present the allegations and that they had a vendetta against him, according to the report.

Generic picture of a schoolGeneric picture of a school (Image: Other)

The report also said Hoyle called Pupil A “my sweetheart” and this made her feel uncomfortable, particularly the use of the word “my” as this implied she “belonged to Mr Hoyle”.

The pupil also claimed he called her “my sweetie pie” and “cutie pie”.

Pupil B said Hoyle called her “sweetheart” and “darling” in music lessons.

Hoyle denied these claims and said he would have instead called the Pupil A “superstar”.

The panel concluded it was “more likely than not” that Hoyle had used overfamiliar and/or inappropriate language with the Pupil A and considered the allegation proved.

But it found the allegation that Hoyle had called Pupil B "my sweet", or words to that effect, not proved.

Hoyle was suspended from teaching at the school the day the report was made by Pupil A.

A disciplinary hearing was held and Hoyle completed further Safer Working Practice and Child Protection training.

He returned to teaching at the school but he was suspended again following allegations made by Pupil B being reported to the school.

A school disciplinary hearing took place and Hoyle was dismissed.

He was referred to the TRA on January 17, 2023.

The 60-year-old refused to attend the final day of the hearing as he said “he thought the panel had already made up its mind”.

A spokesperson for Gildersome Primary School said: “The safety and wellbeing of our students is our number one priority, and we have robust safeguarding processes in place for dealing with any concerns raised about members of staff. Mr Hoyle is no longer an employee."

The Secretary of State deemed a prohibition order appropriate, banning Hoyle from teaching in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation, or children’s home in England.

He will be able to apply for the restoration of his eligibility to teach in two years.