A TEACHER at a Gwent school who was filmed simulating sex with a cardboard cut-out of the Pope will be allowed to teach again – as long as he tells potential employers about the mishap.
Andrew Jones, 36, quit his job at Caldicot Comprehensive School after being filmed in a classroom grabbing the lifesize cut-out of the Pope for a viral ‘Harlem Shake’ video.
He escaped being struck off the teacher register after a disciplinary heard it was a joke video for Comic Relief.
And he will be allowed to apply for new jobs at other schools – as long as he gives a full explanation of his Pope misconduct when he looks for teaching posts.
Jones was spared being banned from the classrooms after telling the hearing that his Harlem Shake video with the Pope cut-out was “naive”.
He said: “The video was a charity video that went horribly wrong.
“This was a naïve move and I became a victim of my own popularity and allowing myself to being drawn in by requests from students to do the video for Comic Relief.
“This was a very steep learning curve for me.
“It is clear I had not seen the video before it was published and did everything I could to get it removed from YouTube as soon as possible.”
The hearing was told Jones was employed by Caldicot Comprehensive School as the head of religious education and started in December 2007.
But he claimed it was more like “bad dad-dancing” than humping the Pope.
In a statement to the Education Workforce Council hearing, he said: “I am flabbergasted by the allegation that I simulated sexual action. To make this allegation is not have recognition of the Harlem Shake trend.”
He added: “I admit misjudging a joke by using the cardboard cut-out of the soon to be resigning Pope Benedict XVI but it was a joke nevertheless.
“I meant no offence. This was a misjudged joke and I am sorry if it caused any offence to anyone.”
Deputy head Shane Mock earlier said: “I was shown the video by another member of staff because there was a lot of talk about it around the school.
“The video contained imagery of sexual action by him and his pupils. It was a shocking video.”
Mr Mock told how pupils in the video also waved fake penises usually used in sexual education classes.
He added: “Jones received a warning and was suspended for his conduct.”
The hearing was told that the police investigated the incident but found it didn’t cross the prosecution threshold.
Ashanti-Jade Walton, presenting the case, earlier said: “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.”
Miss Walton said: “Over the course of his employment, a number of concerns came to light.”
Jones is also alleged to have taken a pupil to a nightclub following a school prom night and sent messages to three pupils from his personal Facebook.
Miss Walton added: “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.”
Jones, who was not present at the remote hearing, denied unacceptable professional conduct “in each and every allegation”.
The Education Workforce Council hearing in Cardiff found the offence with the cut-out of the Pope have been found proven.
An EWC panel found that Mr Jones had not attempted to stop filming or “control the situation” – describing the video as “shocking” and “offensive”.
The panel found a total of six allegations to constitute unacceptable professional conduct.
Mr Jones was given a conditional registration order – spelling out conditions if he is to return to work as a teacher.
Mr Jones must give a copy of their decision to prospective employers, notifying the EWC of future employment, undertaking training on social media and safeguarding.