A married headmaster who sent flirtatious messages to pupils calling them ‘naughty’ and ‘stunning’ has been removed from his duties at his £37,500-a-year boarding school.
Toby Belfield, dubbed ‘Britain’s strictest headteacher’ for his firm stance on sickness and pupil relationships, has ‘not been carrying out his role’ at the Ruthin School in Denbighshire, north Wales, bosses said today.
The Cambridge-educated teacher, 47, is accused of inappropriately messaging six girls, complementing the clothes they wear, asking about their sex lives and joking about ‘expelling’ a pupil for having a secret tattoo.
Before today’s statement confirming Mr Belfied had been removed from his role as investigation continue, there had been no comment from the school’s management on his whereabouts, and teachers said he had not been seen since last term.
It comes after a recent inspection by regulators found the school had ‘serious shortfalls’ as pupils were ‘not appropriately safeguarded’ and ‘at risk of harm’. It alwas also found to have an ‘autocratic and controlling management system in place.’
Mr Belfield (pictured) was previously dubbed Britain’s strictest headmaster when he sent an email to parents saying he was looking to expel students
Belfield complimented a student’s red dress, said he would visit pupils at University, and asked about their sex lives. The messages above are examples of what he had sent to other pupils
Yesterday Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams said the school could effectively be closed down if it didn’t take action over pupil safeguarding.
In the statement today to North Wales Live, the 200 year old boarding school’s Council of Management said: ‘We are determined to ensure that all necessary improvements to the school’s safeguarding system are made.
‘With respect to the position regarding the Principal, there are ongoing external investigations being conducted, and we are currently working with all relevant agencies in relation to them.
‘The Principal has not been carrying out his role whilst these investigations are ongoing. We are not in a position to share any further information at this stage but will do so as soon as we are able to.’
It said it had submitted an ‘action plan’ to the Welsh government to deal with the issues raised in the Care Inspectorate report saying they believe it ‘provides an effective strategy in response to the concerns raised.’
Toby Belfield is pictured on the left. There is no suggestion that the student pictured alongside him was the recipient of any messages
Messages Mr Belfield sent are pictured above where he claims he prefers petite women
The creepy text messages sent by Belfield are thought to have been circulated in north Wales before being passed to officials.
Former pupil Cat Hughes, 16, who left before her GCSE’s, told North Wales Live that she had received dozens of messages from Belfield, which had ‘ruined her life’ and left her with nightmares.
He would send the 16-year-old messages in the early hours of the morning, telling her she was ‘cute’ and how ‘flirting is fine’ before he complimented her on how she looked in her blazer.
She said her teacher would also talk about breasts, virginity and sexuality, telling her he liked women ‘small and petite’.
‘A lot of it was about me being pretty in my blazer. Two days after my 16th birthday, the messages started getting more flirty.
‘He started conversations about relationships and boyfriends saying things like ‘should I be jealous’ and how I would ‘make a terrible girlfriend’.’
Married north Wales teacher Toby Belfield (pictured) been removed from his role as investigation continue into the school
Yesterday Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams said the school (pictured) could effectively be closed down if it didn’t take action over pupil safeguarding
She added: ‘I’ve had nightmares about Mr Belfield. This whole thing has ruined my life.’
Other text messages sent by Belfield include him telling one girl: ‘I’ll visit you at university to check you are still an angel.’
In another message he said: ‘I worry, definitely, about you and sexual behaviour.
‘You might need my support and you shouldn’t risk not having it.. All the boarding staff have been told you are a potential sexual threat to young boys.’
Mr Belfield told another: ‘Imagine if I found your new tattoo — I’d have to expel you.’
And he also wrote to one pupil: ‘Where is your love for your principal, it has vanished. So rude and cruel to me. Breaking my heart.’
Toby Belfield pictured outside the school, in Denbighshire, north Wales
The school takes in local pupils as well as secondary-age students from China and Asia.
Mr Belfield’s social media accounts show him boasting of first-class flights to countries such as China and Hong Kong to interview possible recruits.
He has previously been dubbed Britain’s strictest headmaster when he sent an email to parents saying he was looking to expel students over absences.
He told parents that too many students were registered as ‘sick’ when they were just ‘tired’.
He also said he disapproved of relationships between pupils and threatened to exclude pupils if they broke the rules.
The private school boasts a string of successful ex-pupils including Beatle John Lennon’s son Julian in the 1980s. The school charges £37,500-a-year for full boarding and up to £14,500-a-year for day pupils.