A supply teacher has been jailed for eight and a half years for sexually assaulting six girls at a primary school in Norths Yorkshire. This happened exactly two years after similar allegations were dropped.
Jonathan Philip Clayton, as he is officially called was convicted of 13 counts of sexually touching girls aged between seven and 11 over a period of six weeks last year.
North Yorkshire police described the 27-year-old as a “very manipulative individual who used his trusted position as a teacher to touch these very young and vulnerable girls for his own sexual gratification”.
In a trial at Teesside crown court, it emerged that Clayton previously faced a similar allegation involving a pupil at a school where he taught in 2017, although the charge was later dropped.
The head of the North Yorkshire school, which cannot be named, told the court they had no idea about his past.
Vision for Education, a supply teacher firm that carried out checks on Clayton, said information about the 2017 allegation had been “withheld” and that the first school had “expressly confirmed that the candidate was suitable to work with children and that they would recommend the candidate for employment”.
Vision for Education said it suspended Clayton immediately when it learned about the latest accusations, which spanned from March to May 2019. The court heard that Clayton tried to find work in China after he was banned from working in the UK following the new allegations.
Speaking after Clayton’s conviction in February, Richard Crane, the head of education and skills at Durham county council, said procedures were followed after the CPS discontinued the previous criminal proceedings and recorded a not guilty verdict.
He said: “Appropriate information was supplied through the reference process, as well as to the Teaching Regulation Authority and the Disclosure and Barring Service.”
Clayton, from Carlton in Stockton-on-Tees, denied the offences, saying there was nothing sexual about his behaviour, but he admitted he gave the children hugs, helped them to get dressed and let them sit on his knee.
DC Gillian Gowling, the North Yorkshire police officer who led the investigation, said Clayton displayed “an extremely worrying pattern of behaviour” and would take advantage of his victims.
“This was usually when the youngsters were upset and he carried out the abuse under the guise of providing comforting,” she said. “There were also occasions when he supposedly helped the victims to put on or adjust items of clothing, including tights, when they clearly did not require such help.”