Cannabis teacher’s school ban

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A WIGAN teacher has been banned from the country’s classrooms for at least five years after being caught growing cannabis at his home.

The ban was imposed on Alan Taylor, 43, by Education Secretary Michael Gove, following a disciplinary panel finding that Taylor was guilty of breaching the standard of conduct expected of teachers.

It is the second time that Taylor – who taught science at Westleigh High - has found himself before a disciplinary panel over his cannabis use.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership panel said that in June 2011 a fire broke out at Taylor’s home in East Avenue, Leigh.

Police attended and found cannabis being produced at the property.

Taylor admitted there were a number of plants in a wardrobe and possible seedlings on a shelf.

In March last year Taylor was convicted by Wigan magistrates of producing cannabis and sentenced to an 80-hour community order and the drugs were forfeited and destroyed.

Before the disciplinary panel, he admitted the conviction but denied that it was relevant to his career as a teacher.

In evidence he said he did not accept that the production of cannabis should involve a breach of the criminal law. He said that he produced cannabis for his own consumption, usually on a workday evening, but not every evening.

He would bake a small quantity of cannabis into a biscuit or cake, which he claimed was no different from the consumption of a glass of wine. He said that, if a pupil at a school gained knowledge of his conviction then he would be in a good position to have an informed discussion with the relevant pupil, but would not share his views concerning cannabis with pupils.

Taylor said he considered the law wrong to prohibit the production and consumption of cannabis, and that there was public support for his view.

In its finding the panel said: “Mr Taylor was aware that his activity of producing a controlled drug was a criminal offence and teachers, as others, have an obligation to obey the criminal code.”

He has a right of appeal to the High Court.