PE teacher banned for slapping boy, 4, on knees when he had tantrum

Ian Webber was convicted of assaulting the boy during an after-school football club (Picture: SWNS)

A PE teacher who slapped a four-year-old boy on the knees has been banned from the profession.

Ian Webber, 56, struck the child when he threw a tantrum during an after school football club three years ago.

As he carried the boy across a sports hall by the shoulders on May 23, 2018, he warned the boy: ‘if you kick me again, I’ll smack you’, before slapping him twice on the knees at a school in the West Midlands.

Webber was found guilty of assaulting the boy in February 2019 and has now been banned from the teaching profession for life after a misconduct panel ruled his actions amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.

A Teaching Regulation Agency hearing earlier this month heard the attack happened after he told the boy not to pull post-it notes off an ideas display at the Sutton Coldfield school.

The 6ft 2in teacher, from Polesworth in Warwickshire, had denied assaulting the boy by beating but was lost his case at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court two years ago.

Webber had been issued with a warning prior to assaulting the boy after flicking a child’s throat in 2016 but his ‘conduct towards young children had become worse’, the hearing was told. 

Pupils and parents had raised money for Webber following the case, but he has now been banned from teaching (Picture: SWNS)

The panel chairman Alan Meyrick ruled: ‘His conduct involved inappropriate physical contact with a very young nursery aged child.

‘It involved repeated slapping of a four-year-old child on the knees in response to his behaviour at an after school football practice.

‘Furthermore, the conduct took place in the context of an earlier written warning at the same school (in 2016) following previous inappropriate physical contact by Mr Webber towards another child.’

During his trial, the experienced teacher of 16 years claimed he never hit the boy and a slapping sound heard by witnesses may have been him giving the boy a ‘high five.’

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But District Judge David Robinson found Webber guilty of the charge after saying the evidence of the victim and three other boys was ‘clear and plausible’.

The court heard how the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said Webber smacked him ‘very hard’ on the legs because he was ‘being naughty’.

At the time, Judge Robinson said the teacher had responded to being kicked and punched and that it was an isolated offence in a long teaching career, praising his ‘outstanding contribution as a PE teacher’.

After the case, pupils and parents raised more than £6,000 in support of Webber to help cover his court costs.

But panel chairman Mr Meyrick said prohibiting Webber from teacher teaching was ‘both proportionate and appropriate’.

He continued: ‘Mr Webber’s glaring lack of remorse concerning what he did and clear lack of insight into its effect was a significant factor in forming that opinion.

‘Despite the findings of the criminal court, at which he denied any wrongdoing, he maintained his denials before this panel.’

The ban is indefinite and applies to all schools, sixth-form colleges, youth accommodation and children’s homes in England.

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