Sex claims shocked teacher

The former head of science at the Jewish school where a biology teacher was dismissed in a dispute over sex lessons said yesterday that he was 'gobsmacked' when he heard the allegations.

Vincent Pedley, 49, was dismissed over claims that he discussed masturbation and oral sex with 15- and 16-year-old pupils at the King David High School in Manchester. The governors claimed Mr Pedley was in breach of guidelines that he should have restricted his sex education lessons to the mechanics of human reproduction.

Arthur Marsland, head of science at the comprehensive school when the complaints were made in December 1992, told the tribunal he was at a meeting when the complaints were put to Mr Pedley. 'I was gobsmacked when I heard the allegations. I was shocked that such allegations could be made against a member of my department,' he said.

Mr Pedley, of Urmston, Manchester, claims unfair dismissal against the school and Manchester City Council.

He was also alleged to have told a mixed class he was 'turned on' and got an erection when he first taught sex education and that he encouraged pupils to ask questions about sex because he had a discipline problem in the classroom.

The then acting head, Francis McDonnell, said Mr Pedley admitted that when asked by pupils if he found sex education embarrassing he told them he had erections. He was suspended, but at a meeting a month later, on 7 January 1993, with a union representative present, Mr Pedley had totally denied the allegations.

The hearing continues today.

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