Fraudulent former deputy at Sawtry school avoids being struck off after misconduct case

Alan Stevens. Photo: Terry Harris
Alan Stevens. Photo: Terry Harris

A fraudulent former deputy headteacher has avoided being struck off after a misconduct case.

Alan Stevens was given a suspended sentence after admitting two counts of fraud in 2017.

James Stewart. Photo: Terry Harris

James Stewart. Photo: Terry Harris

Stevens was vice principal at Sawtry Community College, whose former principal James Stewart was said to have turned his own office into a “sex dungeon”.

Stewart was jailed for four years after admitting swindling more than £100,000 from the school’s accounts, as well as other offences including drinking on the premises and leaving during the day to attend horse racing.

Stevens was sentenced to 24 weeks suspended for 12 months with 80 hours of unpaid work for fraud of £364.59.

The offences took place before the school became an academy under the Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust, which launched a campaign to “put right the crimes of the past and invest in the future of the school”.

The professional conduct panel took into account Stevens’ “exemplary record as a teacher and his commitment to the profession”.

It was also said that he is a “role model” as well as a “pillar of the community”, and had supported charities despite being ill.

He also had a previous good record.

Making its recommendation, the panel stated: “Given that the nature and severity of the behaviour was at the less serious end of the possible spectrum, and, in the light of the mitigating factors that were present in this case, the panel determined that a recommendation for a prohibition order would not be appropriate in this case.

“The panel considered that the publication of the adverse findings it had made was sufficient to send an appropriate message to the teacher as to the standards of behaviour that are not acceptable, and meets the public interest requirement of declaring proper standards of the profession.”

A decision made on Stevens’ future on behalf of the Secretary of State agreed with the panel’s recommendation.

Decision maker Alan Meyrick said: “A prohibition order would prevent Mr Stevens from teaching and would also clearly deprive the public of his contribution to the profession for the period that it is in force.”

He added: “In my view a published finding of a conviction of a relevant offence is proportionate and in the public interest.”

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