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Pupil Assault Teacher Barred from Working with Vulnerable Adults

A teacher who, whilst suffering from depression and extreme stress, inflicted life-threatening injuries on a 14-year-old pupil, has been barred from working with vulnerable adults, as well as with children. The Court of Appeal ruled that the restrictions imposed by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) were justified.

Peter Harvey, who taught at a school in Nottinghamshire, snapped during a class and assaulted the allegedly disruptive schoolboy. He dragged the boy out of class and into another room where he beat him around the head with a dumbbell.  Harvey was in 2010 acquitted of attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. However, he admitted the less serious charge of causing grievous bodily harm and was given a community sentence.

The teacher, who had an unblemished 20-year classroom career behind him, was subsequently barred by the DBS from working with vulnerable adults or children. That decision was later upheld by the First-Tier Tribunal (FTT).

However, after he appealed to the Upper Tribunal (UT), Harvey’s hopes of working in the charity sector were boosted when the ban on him working with vulnerable adults was lifted. The tribunal was swayed by the views of a medical expert who said that it was difficult to see how Harvey could pose a risk of harm to adults.

Overturning that decision, the court ruled that the DBS had been entitled to conclude that a bar on Harvey working with vulnerable adults, as well as children, was required. The FTT had performed a careful balancing exercise and the UT’s trenchant criticism of its decision was ‘clearly wrong’. The UT’s heavy reliance on the medical expert’s opinion was ‘misconceived’ and the court restored Harvey’s name to the list of those barred from working with vulnerable adults.