Wycombe boarding school teacher banned over sex acts

A drama teacher at a private girls’ boarding school has been banned from teaching for life after he ‘engaged in sexual activity’ with a former pupil in his office.

Matthew McGowan, 38, taught drama at Wycombe Abbey School since 2011.

He developed an inappropriate relationship with ‘Pupil A’ when she was still at the school which started when he wrote ‘Happy Valentine’s Day from a secret admirer’ in her diary around 2013. 

He later sent emails of an ‘inappropriate nature’ before giving the pupil his mobile phone number.

This led to the pair becoming ‘very physical’ when ‘Pupil A’ had left the school and they engaged in sexual activity on the school premises.

Matthew McGowan, 38, a former drama teacher at Wycombe Abbey School, has been banned from teaching for life after he ‘engaged in sexual activity’ with a former pupil in his office

Following a panel of the National College for Teaching and Leadership Mr McGowan has been banned from teaching for life.

After exchanging ‘inappropriate emails’ and giving the pupil his phone number, the drama teacher touched her bottom during meetings and/or rehearsals. 

Pupil A gave evidence to the panel saying Mr McGowan had ‘smacked’ her bottom during a rehearsal after making a comment about how much he liked the leggings she was wearing. 

The report adds: ‘Pupil A also stated that Mr McGowan subsequently touched her bottom more frequently. Pupil A said that this included Mr McGowan grabbing her bottom or pulling her up against him so that she felt him against her bottom and that this happened quite regularly.’

Mr McGowan had denied this allegation. 

The pupil left the school in June 2015, and told the panel that, after this, they started to exchange naked photos and videos, before a physical relationship started. 

Pupil A said some of sexual activity took place in the school, in Mr McGowan’s office, and they also met in his car.  

Mr McGowan denied this allegation and told the panel she made false allegations about him after he rejected her approach to ‘engage in a romantic relationship’, which would have meant him leaving his fiancée.

He said this was the reason for Pupil A’s future behaviour towards him and the explanation for her ‘making false allegations against him.’  

However the panel said it did not find his account convincing, especially as it was not included in his written statement or any earlier account.   

The entrance to Wycombe Abbey School, where boarding school fees cost £38k a year

The entrance to Wycombe Abbey School, where boarding school fees cost £38k a year

The pupil’s mother made a complaint in July 2016, which led to an investigation by the school and police, and Mr McGowan resigned in September that year.

The panel recommended that Mr McGowan be banned from teaching with immediate effect, and not be permitted a review period.

Dawn Dandy, who made the decision on behalf of the education secretary, agreed, and wrote: ‘In my judgement, the lack of insight means that there is some risk of the repetition of this behaviour, and this risks future pupils being subject to similar behaviour.’

She ruled that Mr McGowan should not be allowed to apply for his eligibility to teach to be restored, citing ‘serious sexual misconduct, the lack of either insight or remorse, and the fact the conduct continued after it had been brought to Mr McGowan’s attention’.

Head teacher Rhiannon Wilkinson said: ‘The whole Wycombe Abbey staff body, feel very sad, appalled, and profoundly let down that a member of our teaching staff should have behaved in the manner which he did – and that his conduct was not identified and stopped at the time. 

‘We have apologised to the family who have suffered as a consequence.’

He has a right to appeal to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court within 28 days. 



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