A Lynn teacher who was given a suspended prison sentence for firearms offences has been allowed to carry on teaching.
Vaughan West, 39, who was head of the Design and Technology department at the King Edward VII High School – now an academy – was given a 12 month jail sentence suspended for a year and ordered to pay £1,000 costs after pleading guilty to three offences.
But a teachers’ disciplinary panel ruled that it would be disproportionate to ban Mr West from the country’s classrooms in respect of what the trial judge at Norwich Crown Court in March last year found was an “exceptional case”.
The findings of the National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) panel say that Mr West, who had taught at the King Edward VII school for 13 years held a fire arms certificate and shotgun certificate for rifles and shotguns he owned.
However, police seized a rifle from his premises which was not covered by his certificates.
But the findings said: “Mr West believed the firearm was an antique and did not require a firearms certificate.”
They continue: “Indeed, an expert confirmed that, in his opinion, the firearm was an antique. Mr West stated that he had not fired the rifle which was about 100 years old, had a rotten stock which he had removed and a rusty barrel which he had reduced.”
Despite this he was taken to court where he faced charges of possession of a prohibited firearm of a length less than 30 cm /60 cm ; failing to comply with the conditions of a firearm certificate; and failing to comply with the conditions of a shotgun certificate.
Recommending that Mr West should not face a ban as most disciplined teacher do the NCTL panel said : “In the circumstances, and on the particular facts of this case, it is the panel’s judgment that it is disproportionate and inappropriate to recommend that a prohibition order is made in respect of Mr West.”
Backing that decision on behalf of Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, NCTL official, Paul Heathcote said : “This is a most unusual case and the panel has taken full account of the exceptional circumstances that led to Mr West’s conviction.
“I agree with the panel’s recommendation that a prohibition order is not appropriate in this case.”