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Teacher who watched porn on school computers given indefinite classroom ban

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A teacher has been banned from the profession indefinitely after accessing pornography at the school he had taught at for more than 35 years.

Simon Smith was caught viewing porn sites at Wyvern College in Salisbury, Wiltshire, during teaching periods last year.

He admitted using school equipment to search for inappropriate websites that included the descriptions "sexy wife and husband swingers seduce teen for fun", "incest stepson seduces mother" and "Betsy Russell private school nudes".

Wyvern College is a state Church of England secondary school that boasts England rugby union full-back Mike Brown among its former pupils.

Mr Smith, 61, had taught there since 1978 after joining when he was 23 and received a number of good and outstanding reviews by Ofsted over the course of his 37-year career.

But a professional conduct panel of the National College for Teaching and Leadership found he had brought his profession into disrepute and was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

Allegations emerged in June last year that he had viewed pornography during school time using its computer equipment.

Police were contacted the following month and, after a disciplinary meeting, he was dismissed from his position in October last year.

In his defence, Mr Smith said his limited IT skills had "contributed" to his conduct and said he had been "seriously depressed" at the time of his offending, saying he felt "surplus to requirements in his role, humiliated, belittled and let down".

But the panel concluded that while he had displayed "genuine remorse" for his actions, that regret derived from being caught rather than an appreciation that "what he did was wrong and potentially damaging to his pupils".

It noted that while his viewing of such pornography outside of a school setting would not have been illegal, there was a strong public interest consideration regarding the protection of pupils, and that public confidence in the profession could be "seriously weakened" if Mr Smith's conduct was not treated with the "utmost seriousness".

The panel concluded: "Mr Smith has been found guilty of unprofessional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute."

He was prohibited from teaching in England indefinitely and told he could apply for a review of the ruling after two years.