A teacher at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester has been given a lifetime teaching ban after sending sexually explicit online messages about teenage girls.
Dr Andrew Preston, 50, was found to have taken part in “disrespectful and repellent” web chats in October and November 2013 – around the same time that he joined Chetham’s as a teacher. During these chats, Dr Preston would discuss in graphic detail his fantasies about underage girls having sex.
The messages sent by Dr Preston, who taught maths at the school, were discovered in 2014 when police arrested him on suspicion of another sexual offence.
Dr Preston was given a lifetime teaching ban following a hearing of the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL).
Although Dr Preston told the hearing he thought his conversations were “mere banter”, he was told that his “disrespectful and repellent” conduct was so serious that he will not be able to appeal against the decision and have his eligibility restored.
Imposing the ban, NTCL Head of Teacher Misconduct, Jayne Millions, said: “There can be few more damaging considerations for a teacher than to assert, in the way that has occurred in this case, a sexual interest in children of school age.”
“I agree with the panel’s view that this is fundamentally inconsistent with him remaining a member of the teaching profession.”
Chetham’s School of Music
A spokesperson from the school said they followed all correct procedures, referred Dr Preston to the NCTL and dismissed him from the school.
Chetham’s School of Music has been at the centre of a child abuse scandal in recent years, following allegations of abuse against former pupils in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Former music director Michael Brewer and his wife Hilary were convicted in 2013 of indecently assaulting former pupil Frances Andrade, who tragically took her own life a week after giving evidence.
Two former teachers – Nicholas Smith and Duncan McTier – admitted sexually assaulting former pupils and, last year, violin teacher Chris Ling killed himself in the USA as police attempted to arrest him before extraditing him back to the UK to face child sex abuse charges relating to his time at Chetham’s.
People who carry out abuse at music schools are nearly always in great positions of trust who manipulate and deceive both parents and pupils alike. Chetham’s is exposed to civil litigation by any abuse carried out by its teachers under the principle of vicarious liability, which states that an organisation can be sued if the person carrying out the abuse is employed by them, or they have a relationship akin to employment.
Former Chetham’s Teacher Ryszard Bakst
Slater and Gordon would like people to come forward with any evidence in relation to allegations of abuse against former Chetham’s School of Music teacher Ryszard Bakst, now deceased.
Bakst is understood to have taught piano at Chetham’s, and also at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.
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If you would like a free consultation with one of our abuse solicitors, please call Slater and Gordon anytime 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and let us know where and when you’d like us to call you.