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Last Updated: Monday, 16 January 2006, 10:48 GMT
Parents' fury at sex case teacher
Portchester Boys' School
William Gibson was suspended from the school on Saturday
Parents dropping their children off at a school at the centre of a political row have spoken of their anger that a teacher there was a sex offender.

Portchester School, in Bournemouth, suspended William Gibson, 59, after his conviction for indecently assaulting a 15-year-old girl in 1980 was revealed.

It later emerged that Education Secretary Ruth Kelly had approved Gibson to teach, despite his history.

Parents arriving on Monday morning said they were "disgusted" by the news.

I was absolutely disgusted when I heard that it had got this far
Heather Askham

Heather Askham, from Bournemouth, dropped her 11-year-old son at the school and said: "I don't think the school are at fault.

"A lot of it is down to (Ruth) Kelly. They actually knew that he had this record and let him teach at this school.

"I was absolutely disgusted when I heard that it had got this far.

"He was my son's maths teacher. He used to come in and say he was miserable and Mr Gibson would threaten the whole class with detention."

The school had employed Gibson through an agency called Step Teachers.

'Abuse of trust'

The agency said he had been deemed "suitable to work in schools" and that a supporting letter from one of Ms Kelly's officials had been "powerful".

Although the agency knew about Gibson's conviction for the offence in Sunderland they did not pass this information on to the school because of data protection laws.

I think that there are some crimes which society will not forgive you for
Porchester School parent

Tamaz Kiknadze, from Bournemouth, who was dropping his 12-year-old son at the school, said: "I went crazy yesterday and I was really worried. They have no right to teach when they do something like that."

Another parent e-mailed the BBC to express her disgust at Gibson's employment.

"I'm appalled that anyone with a conviction for assaulting a teenager can get a job anywhere in education," she said.

"I know some folk say that people change and everyone should have a second chance, but I think that there are some crimes which society will not forgive you for and maybe that's part of the punishment.

'School as usual'

Gibson had previously been removed from three schools in the North East and refused work by a supply agency which checked his details with the Criminal Records Bureau.

He has also served a prison sentence after being convicted of fraud in a separate case.

Keith Mitchell, chair of the school's board of governors, said it was "school as usual".

"I have spoken to 10 parents or so and governors and once they have heard the facts of the case... and they know there's no question of impropriety at school, they feel reassured."

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