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RE teacher faces sack after ‘simulating sex with cardboard cut-out of the Pope’

Andrew Jones (inset) was filmed in a classroom at a school in Gwent (Picture: Wales News Service)

A religious education teacher faces a battle to save his job after being accused of simulating sex with a likeness of the Pope.

Andrew Jones, 36, was filmed in class grabbing a lifesize cut-out of the Pontiff during a viral ‘Harlem Shake’ video in 2013.

A misconduct hearing was told the clip uploaded to YouTube also showed children in his class ‘simulating sexual actions’ at the Welsh school.

Ashanti-Jade Walton, presenting the case, explained: ‘A video was posted on YouTube of Jones and his class doing the Harlem Shake. The video raised concerns as it contained sexualised action by learners.

‘Jones was seen in the video with a cardboard cut-out of the Pope.’

The hearing was told that Mr Jones was head of RE at Caldicot Comprehensive School in Caldicot, Gwent, where he started in December 2007.

The teacher, who was not present at the remote hearing, denies unacceptable professional conduct ‘in each and every allegation’.

RE teacher Mr Jones denies ‘each and every allegation’ (Picture: Wales News Service)
The incident took place at Caldicot Comprehensive School (Picture: Wales News Service)

Harlem Shake videos became an internet craze eight years ago, and involve a number of people dancing to a short section of a song of the same title.

Miss Walton continued: ‘Over the course of his employment, a number of concerns came to light.’

Mr Jones is also alleged to have taken a pupil to a nighclub following a school prom night and sent messages to three pupils from his personal Facebook.

Miss Walton added: ‘Further concerns were raised by a former learner.

‘After a school prom night, Jones went to a nightclub alone with another learner.

‘Between July 2018 and June 2019, messages were exchanged with learners on Facebook Messenger.

‘Among the messages to Pupil A was an invite to his house, a picture of his house and messages telling Pupil A that he missed them.

‘Jones also sent messages to Pupils B and C over Facebook Messenger.

‘There was clearly a breach of professional boundaries.’

The Education Workforce Council hearing in Cardiff continues.

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