A teacher has been banned from the classroom for life after he was jailed for abusing vulnerable teenage girls.

“Manipulative” Richard Cottyn, 38, was employed at Burnham Park Academy – which is now closed – from April 1, 2014, until April 28, 2016, in various roles including assistant principal, director of maths and acting vice principal.

After leaving Burnham Park Academy, which was in Opendale Road in Burnham, he went on to teach at Farnham Heath End School in Surrey – but he was arrested in September 2017 by Surrey Police for making sexual advances towards a pupil.

After his arrest, police searched his laptop and his mobile phone and found thousands of chat logs with girls aged between 14 and 17 and it became clear that he had met up with some of them and had an indecent image.

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He was arrested again in June 2018 and another phone – which had more than 2,500 chat logs on it – was seized.

Hundreds of indecent images of girls were also found on his laptop.

On October 5, 2020, Cottyn, from Sheffield, was jailed for eight years and eight months after being convicted of 28 crimes against young girls.

After his initial arrest, Farnham Heath End School dismissed Cottyn and referred the case to the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA), with deals with teacher misconduct.

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A TRA panel said Cottyn’s conduct was “of the most serious and gravest kind”.

Their report said: “The panel noted that some of the offences had taken place outside of the school setting and had not involved pupils from the schools where Mr Cottyn worked or other members of staff.

“However, the panel concluded that Mr Cottyn’s proven actions were relevant to teaching, working with children and/or working in an education setting.

“The panel noted that the behaviour involved in committing the offences would have had an impact on the safety or security of pupils and/or members of the public.

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“The panel also took account of the way the teaching profession is viewed by others. The panel considered that Mr Cottyn’s behaviour in committing the offences would affect public confidence in the teaching profession, given the influence that teachers may have on pupils, parents and others in the community.

“Further, the panel considered that public confidence in the profession would be severely damaged if in the event he was allowed to teach following his release from prison.”

While the panel noted that Cottyn had been “remorseful for his actions” and had had counselling before going to jail, they said he must be banned from teaching for the rest of his life.

It means he cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, youth accommodation or children’s home in England.