Married science teacher who groped colleague at school prom banned

Married science teacher, 40, who drunkenly groped a colleague’s breast in front of pupils at the school prom after saying he’d ‘f*** her in a heartbeat if it wasn’t for her wedding ring’ is banned from the classroom for five years

  • Dr Tom Kershaw admitted to becoming drunk at the prom with Year 13 pupils 

A drunk science teacher who groped a colleague’s breast and said he would like to ‘f***’ her in front of pupils at a school prom after joining in drinking games with them has been banned from the classroom for five years.

Dr Tom Kershaw, who taught at Ivybridge Community College in Devon, joined the school in 2011 before quitting while under investigation for his behavoiur in September 2020.

The married teacher, who was made head of sixth form in 2019, attended the Year 13 prom along with other colleagues and students in June 2018, where the incident took place.

Kershaw, now 40, admitted being under the influence of alcohol at the Ivybridge Community College prom in Devon in June 2018. 

But he had denied that his behaviour was sexually motivated – a claim which has now been dismissed by a disciplinary panel.

Dr Tom Kershaw has been struck off for drunkenly groping a female colleague

Kershaw attended the prom at an external venue where he became drunk and grabbed his colleague’s breast and made the comment.

He also admitted engaging in a drinking game with the teenage Year 13 pupils and that his behaviour had to be monitored by colleagues. 

The month after the prom a pupil made a comment to a member of staff about the prom night and disclosed concerns over ‘an overfamiliar relationship between [Kershaw] and a pupil’, saying that the pupil had been given some jewellery by him. 

Formal investigations began in late 2018 about his behaviour and he quit the school in September 2020. 

A Teaching Regulation Agency disciplinary panel heard how Kershaw slid his hand along a colleague’s body before he cupped and grabbed her left breast. 

He said of the colleague ‘if it wasn’t for [her] wedding ring, I’d f*** her in a heartbeat’. 

Kershaw admitted being under the influence of alcohol at the school prom but said ‘my conduct was in the spirit of the prom’ with both staff and students drinking. 

He said he allowed himself to be bought drinks by pupils at the bar and ‘drank to a level that was inappropriate for a senior member of staff at a school prom’.

Dr Tom Kershaw, who taught at Ivybridge Community College (pictured) in Devon, joined the school in 2011

This included participating in a drinking game with students in which he had to down his drink if a penny was dropped in it. 

A witness said he was ‘displaying drunken behaviour including slurred speech, he was very giggly and laughing, his lack of control of body, for example, he was stumbling, grabbing onto things to stabilise himself and his pitch of voice was very loud’. 

Another said he was playing a ‘down the drinks game’ with pupils.

Kershaw denied deliberately ‘groping’ anyone but the sober witness said he slid his hand up, stopping at the colleague’s breast. 

The panel found Kershaw cupped and groped her breast, ‘holding and squeezing’ it for up to four seconds and pupils saw what happened. 

They also found he made the comment about ‘f***ing her in a heartbeat’ loudly in front of pupils which made her feel uncomfortable. 

Kershaw denied his conduct was sexually motivated but the panel ruled that the cupping of the breast and the comment about having sex with her were sexually motivated. 

The panel said his conduct amounted to unacceptable professional conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute and he has been banned from the classroom for five years, saying the sexual misconduct was at the lower end of the spectrum.

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