Biology teacher, 42, at £34,000-a-year Warminster boarding school is struck off for having ‘sexual contact’ with female pupil after plying her with alcohol and telling her she had a ‘lovely body’
- Paul Laidler had secret fling with former Warminster School, Wiltshire pupil
- Tribunal heard he plied girl with drinks and was ‘intimate’ with her at his home
- Allegations kept quiet for 11 years before the victim broke her silence in 2018
- The 42-year-old resigned from Gresham’s School, Norfolk, following allegations
- Laidler was struck off teaching register after admitting misconduct for which he ‘was not remorseful’
A teacher has been struck off after it was revealed he had had ‘sexual contact’ with a former pupil while working at a £34,500-a-year boarding school 13 years ago.
Paul Laidler, a biology teacher at exclusive Warminster School in Wiltshire plied the girl with booze at a local pub before getting undressed in his home.
They kissed and touched each other intimately and after sexual activity he texted her that she had ‘a lovely body’.
Laidler, 42, kept the tryst a secret for 11 years until his victim broke her silence in 2018, forcing him to resign in disgrace from a prestigious Norfolk boarding school once attended by James Dyson and Olivia Coleman.
He was this week struck off the teaching register after admitting misconduct and bringing the profession into disrepute.
The Teaching Regulation Agency said Laidler engaged in ‘inappropriate, sexual conduct with a former pupil who was under the influence of alcohol’.
Paul Laidler, a biology teacher at exclusive Warminster School in Wiltshire has been struck off after it was revealed he had had ‘sexual contact’ with a former pupil while working
He confessed to breaching professional boundaries while working at 300-year-old Warminster, where the annual boarding fee can reach £34,500 per year.
The hearing, in Coventry, West Midlands, said Laidler bought drinks for the girl at a pub and made booze ‘freely available’ at his home.
A misconduct panel found the girl, referred to only as Former Pupil A, ‘was in a state of undress in Mr Laidler’s bedroom, as was he’ during their fling in May – July 2007.
The panel heard that at the time Mr Laidler allowed Former Pupil A and another pupil to stay at his home accommodation and allowed Former Pupil A to drive his vehicle.
After Laidler and Pupil A engaged in sexual activity, he later texted her to say she had a ‘lovely body’, the hearing was told.
Hilary Jones, who chaired the Teaching Regulation Agency hearing in Coventry, added: ‘The panel heard evidence from Former Pupil A that Mr Laidler had purchased drinks at the public house.
‘On the balance of probabilities, the panel found that Mr Laidler had bought drinks for Former Pupil A at a public house as well as making alcohol freely available at his home.
‘The panel found that Mr Laidler was responsible for engaging in sexual activity with a former pupil when she was heavily under the influence of alcohol.
‘This, by its nature was an abuse of his position of trust, as the former pupil’s teacher, and which demonstrated a failure to maintain professional boundaries.’
The hearing was told how Laidler was working at historic Gresham’s School, in Holt, Norfolk, where he had been made a head of house, when the allegations came to light.
He resigned from the exclusive boarding school – where former pupils include Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman and engineer James Dyson – in May 2018.
The hearing was told that when quizzed by police, Laidler ‘expressed anger’ that his victim had reported him.
The panel said it accepted Laidler acted ‘out of character’ between May and July 2007 but ruled he had not displayed any genuine remorse into his actions.
Ms Jones said: ‘Further, it was noted that in his police interview Mr Laidler had expressed anger that the incident had been reported by Former Pupil A.
‘Accordingly, the panel was not satisfied 12 that Mr Laidler had displayed genuine remorse or insight into the impact of his actions on Former Pupil A in particular.’
Signing off on the ban, civil servant Sarah Buxcey said: ‘In my judgement, the lack of insight means that there is some risk of the repetition of this behaviour and this puts at risk pupil safety and welfare.’
Laidler, who was not present or represented at the hearing, has 28 days to appeal.
The hearing was told that Former Pupil A stayed at his home with another child, referred to only as Pupil B.
The panel however noted that Pupil B had permission to enter and stay at Mr Laidler’s home accommodation with such arrangement being agreed by Pupil B’s parents and therefore in relation to Pupil B there was no failure to maintain an appropriate professional boundary
Gresham’s, which costs £36,000-a-year to attend for those boarding, has a string of notable alumni including Soviet spy Donald Maclean.
Founded in 1555 as a small grammar, in the early 1900s it tripled the pupils it sent to Oxbridge championing modern languages, literature and science.
Its alumni includes the inventor James Dyson who attended the school from 1956 to 1965 and some of his early vacuums will be on display.
Others include The Crown actress Olivia Colman, composer Benjamin Britten, poet WH Auden and hovercraft inventor Sir Christopher Cockerell.
There is also the poet Stephen Spender, his artist brother Humphrey, and artist Gerald Holtom, who created the famous symbol of international peace.
Three-hundred-year-old Warminster features a central doorway designed by Christopher Wren.
Set in 60 acres, it has a dozen tennis courts and commands fees of over £27,000 a year from its boarders.
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