Teacher admits trying to surf for porn on school computer

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A POPULAR teacher tried to access nude photos and pornography from his work computer – during a school day.

James Hampson, who worked at Portlethen Academy in Aberdeenshire, was caught trying to surf adult websites in 2013.

The technological education teacher admitted the allegations in full on the first day of a hearing in Edinburgh of the General Teaching Council for Scotland yesterday (Mon).

 

Portlethen Academy
Portlethen Academy

 

It is the third time the conduct of teachers at the school has hit the headlines. Also in 2013, a teacher at Portlethen was jailed for downloading child pornography. And in 2007-08, physics teacher Dr Mark Robertson was given six months’ probation after admitting internet sexual offences involving a pupil,

Mr Hampson faced a single charge from the GTCS that: “Between 16 Dec 2013 and 19 Dec 2013, both dates inclusive…you did attempt to access adult nudity and pornographic websites from your work computer during the school day”.

The teacher’s actions breached Aberdeenshire Council’s ‘Acceptable Use Of ICT Facilities by Employees Code of Practice’.

At the start of the hearing, Mr Hampson’s representative, Alastair Milne, confirmed that the teacher admitted the allegation.

Mr Milne said: “The facts in the charge are admitted. We are here to seek to demonstrate the background and context within which the conduct has taken place.”

The middle-aged teacher, who wore glasses and a smart grey suit to the hearing, sat quietly as the admittance was read out.

Most of the hearing was held in private, due to “sensitive details” regarding Mr Hampson’s mental health at the time of the incident.

A pre-hearing notice explained that the panel ruled all evidence should be held in private due to “intimate or sensitive details of the Respondent’s mental health.”

It also stated that Mr Hampson had “ongoing anxiety in relation to attending the school and what others think about him”.

The panel will listen to evidence to decide Mr Hampson should be deemed “unfit to teach” following his misconduct.

If so, he could be struck from the teaching register and banned from the profession.

It is unclear how long Mr Hampson has worked at the school, but a range of glowing reviews on website Rate My Teacher date back to 2005.

An ex-pupil wrote: “Totally good guy. Always willing to help. Best guidance teacher Portlethen ever had.”

Another said: “My favourite ever teacher from Portlethen. Understanding, easy to talk to. All round nice guy.”

A 2012 review stated: “Mr Hampson was my technical studies teacher. He is a great motivator and I really enjoyed his class which ended up influencing my future career.”

The reviews are so favourable that he has been “awarded” a total of 4.5 stars out of 5 by the website.

In 2013, a teacher at the same school, Alan Nardoni, was jailed for three and a half years for possessing and distributing “dreadful” child abuse images.

The 36-year-old downloaded thousands of images to a computer he used for school work, with videos and photographs including “some of the worst” the judge had ever seen.

He continued to offend even when he knew he was under investigation, and downloaded more images after he had first appeared in court and had been released on bail.

 

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