Chris Naylor (pictured) has been banned from teaching for two years
A drunken PE teacher who kissed and groped pupils at a school prom tried to blackmail his bosses at one of the country’s top state school into paying him off.
Chris Naylor was seen boozing at the end-of-year event before he grabbed at students on the dancefloor.
The 39-year-old put his hands round girl pupils’ waists and hugged others while dancing up behind them.
His drunken display didn’t go unnoticed and senior managers at Congleton High School launched an internal investigation into the night’s events.
But two months later, as his bosses considered what action to take, Naylor stunned them with a ‘threat’ to publish photos of other staff behaving badly at the prom.
He told school chiefs he would not put the pictures on social media if they agreed to pay him off with nine month’s salary. They refused and the sport’s teacher eventually resigned.
Now Naylor, who was described as a ‘passionate’ and ‘outstanding’ teacher, has been banned from classrooms indefinitely over his blackmail bid.
The sports master had been a teacher at the school for almost 13 years and was deputy head of the PE department as well as a Guidance Team Leader for Year 11 pupils.
But on the night of the event at Cranage Hall near Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, last June he was seen drinking before acting and dancing ‘inappropriately’ with some students.
In written admissions made to a professional conduct panel held in Coventry last month Naylor admitted unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.
He accepted he had been drinking before and during the Year 11 prom which he was meant to be supervising.
Naylor also admitted ‘engaging in inappropriate physical contact’ with one or more pupils, including hugging, kissing them on the head, forehead and cheeks and dancing closely with them.
Naylor was seen dancing with pupils at the Congleton High School (pictured) prom in Cheshire
But the panel heard during an investigation into his conduct he warned school bosses he would release photographs of other members of staff on social media which would ‘tarnish the school’s reputation’, unless they agreed to the terms of his offer to leave.
The multi-academy trust school, which has over 1100 pupils, was rated ‘good’ at its last OFSTED inspection in 2018.
Last year it was listed in the top 10 per cent of state schools in England and Wales and rated the best in Cheshire.
In his admissions Naylor accepted drinking alcohol while setting-up the prom. But he claimed he had not eaten properly and the alcohol had ‘a disproportionate effect’ on him.
He also admitted hugging and kissing pupils claiming he had ‘let his guard down’ due to his alcohol consumption and agreed his behaviour was ‘unacceptable’. But the panel said it did not consider being intoxicated as any defence.
On the issue of blackmail the panel saw documents which showed during the school’s investigation into his conduct he said he would release photographs of other members of staff on social media.
A letter sent to him from the school on 25 August 2018, following a meeting, set out the offer he had made saying it considered it to be a ‘threat’.
The panel noted email exchanges between Naylor and other employees about a settlement figure which did not include any denial making the school the offer.
Naylor admitted his actions lacked integrity and the panel ruled they ‘appeared to be a clear attempt, inappropriately, to influence the proceedings of an appropriate investigation into his conduct.’
In a written decision Alan Meyrick said: ‘On 29 June 2018, a Year 11 Prom was held at which Mr Naylor attended as a supervising member of staff.
‘Before and during the event, Mr Naylor was witnessed drinking alcohol, dancing inappropriately behind a pupil, kissing pupils on the cheek, placing his hands on the waists of pupils and hugging others.
‘Following the prom, an internal investigation was undertaken during which Mr Naylor stated to investigators that he had photographs of other members of staff drinking alcohol during the event.
‘He said that he was willing not to publicise these photographs on social media in exchange for a settlement agreement amounting to nine-months’ salary.
‘The school rejected this offer and Mr Naylor submitted his resignation on 31st August last year.’
The panel found the teacher had ‘engaged in inappropriate and/or unprofessional behaviour’ at the dance ‘towards one or more pupils’.
Mr Meyrick said the panel was satisfied Naylor’s conduct involved breaches of the Teachers’ Standards and his conduct ‘fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession’.
He said the panel noted the teacher was drunk ‘whilst he was in a position of responsibility and had a role of ensuring the safety of pupils’.
‘At the very least, such behaviour increases the chances of pupils’ being exposed to a risk of harm although the panel accepted that there was no evidence that any harm had been caused,’ added Mr Meyrick.
‘Similarly, whilst an investigation into a teacher’s conduct will be embarrassing and unwanted by a teacher, it is also a process that needs to be undertaken in an appropriate manner.
‘Trying to influence such an investigation as Mr Naylor did unfortunately, can only be seen as serious misconduct.’
And he added: ‘The findings of misconduct were serious, and the conduct displayed would be likely to have a negative impact on Mr Naylor’s status as a teacher, potentially damaging the public perception.
‘The panel, therefore, found that Mr Naylor’s actions also constituted conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.’
The panel accepted Naylor had a previously good history and that the incident was ‘out of character’.
He also claimed that he had some issues with alcohol and was trying to deal with these with the help of counselling.
Character references supplied to the disciplinary hearing referred to him as a ‘passionate’ and ‘outstanding teacher’ who gave up his hundreds of hours of his own time.
The panel also accepted his behaviour at the prom was towards ‘the less serious end of the spectrum’ and could possibly have been excused as a serious error of judgement on one evening.
‘However, the ‘threat’ made to the school was nearly two months after the Prom and made as part of a disciplinary process.,’ stated Mr Meyrick.
‘It appeared that this was a pre-empted course of conduct that Mr Naylor had considered prior to the investigation meeting.
‘The threat carried weight as it was designed to risk both the School’s and his colleagues’ reputations.’
After considering all the evidence the panel made a recommendation that a prohibition order should be imposed on Naylor with immediate effect, barring him from all classrooms.
They noted he had expressed remorse as to his behaviour and that blackmail plot he made to the school, ‘whilst unacceptable, was also one made in desperation due to having to support his family.’
Naylor, who did not appear at the disciplinary hearing, may apply for the prohibition order to be set aside in August 2021. He also has the right to appeal the ruling.