December 2009

Teacher struck off for sex with boy pupil

Ashley Turnell

A TEACHER who worked at a top specialist music school has been struck off the teaching register after being convicted of having sex with a male pupil.

Ashley Turnell, 36, abused his position of trust by having sex with a teenager while he was teaching at St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh. The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) has ruled that Turnell’s relationship with the boy was a “significant breach of trust” which had caused “actual harm to a child” and he has been removed from the teaching register. Turnell, of Ardmillan Terrace, Gorgie, was convicted at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last year of having sex with the boy between 1 December, 2007 and 1 April, 2008.

The offences were said to have taken place in Turnell’s flat and an address in Merchiston.

St Mary’s Music School, in Grosvenor Crescent, said Turnell stopped working at the school in March 2008, but declined to comment any further.

The case came to the GTCS’s disciplinary sub-committee this week. It said: “To consider any other option than removal (from the teaching register] would not have been appropriate in the circumstances of this case given the serious nature of the crime and that it constituted a significant breach of trust and actual harm to a child.

“The public and the profession expects and indeed deserves that such breaches of trust are addressed with due rigour.”

Turnell was placed on probation for three years when he appeared at the Sheriff Court last December, when he was also ordered to do 160 hours of community service. He was also placed on the sex offenders’ register.

St Mary’s Music School, which has 70 pupils, was at the centre of another sex scandal earlier this year when a house master was convicted of having sex with a female pupil and behaving indecently towards another.

st marys

Ryan Deneven-Lewis, 27, of Headingley, Leeds, was employed to look after boarders at the school when he committed the offences between 1 January and 30 June, 2006.

He was responsible for the general supervision and care of the pupils and taking charge of recreational activities in the evenings.

He pleaded guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in July.