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DAILY MAIL: Private Tutor Investigation



 

Private tutors charged with sex offences continuing to work while on bail | Daily Mail Online

Private tutors charged with sex offences are continuing to work while on bail and even after pleading guilty, an investigation has found.

Dozens of them have been convicted over the past decade with victims often having been their pupils.

In one case, a maths tutor who last month admitted sexually abusing four children was still teaching a 15-year-old girl just days before his sentencing. 

Unlike teachers, private tutors are not required by law to have criminal record checks to work with schoolchildren.

Campaigners have called on the Government to close the loophole 'as a matter of urgency' as the profession booms during the pandemic.

The Safeguarding Alliance said there was a worrying lack of parental awareness, particularly when so many families were looking for extra tuition to help their children keep up.

Chief executive Emily Konstantas said: ‘We are failing so many children in this country with a lack of robust regulation and the management of registered sex offenders. 

'We have to put their safety first. It is a matter of urgency’.

Robert Halfon, chairman of the Commons education committee, said: 'While the vast majority of tutors do a remarkable job in trying to educate young people, the problem is that even having one case of abuse is one too many. 

'It is, to me, unthinkable and unacceptable that any individual in the legal system for abuse is able to carry on tutoring. 

'If that doesn't show where the system needs repairing, what does?'

The Daily Mail has found 36 cases of private tutors who have been convicted of sex offences since 2010. 

The scale of the problem however is likely to be far worse as, due to the nature of the industry being unregulated, there is no centralised data held.

The offences range from an online tutor in Oxford caught exposing himself to a child in 2018 to a maths tutor from London jailed for sexually assaulting three pupils last year.

Worryingly, the list includes tutors who would not have passed background checks had they been required due to their offending history.

Mother-of-two Tanvir Mukhtar went cold when she received the call from police.

The private tutor employed to help her children's English and maths studies had been arrested, the officer said.

Mohamed Qabri Anis, she learned, was accused of raping one of his pupils – a child under the age of 13. Mrs Mukhtar was shocked to find the 'very professional' man she had let into her £1.2million home every week was a paedophile.

A traumatic conversation followed with her two children – then aged seven and nine – but thankfully they were not affected. 

But she has warned other parents who, similar to her, may been convinced by a recommendation, to be vigilant when looking for tutors.

The shocking incident in 2013 has seen Mrs Mukhtar give up her lucrative career in investment banking and set up her own tuition company Scholar Hub. And she has called on the Government to make background checks compulsory – a 'no-brainer', she says. 

 

Mrs Mukhtar, 46, said: 'If I can get here, someone who hasn't had the same opportunities will be really, really vulnerable.'

Having been recommended by a friend, Anis had not appeared 'nefarious in any way' during the weekly sessions at her home in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.

Anis – aged 41 at the time – pleaded guilty to two counts of rape of a boy under the age of 13 in 2013. He was sentenced to life in jail at Reading Crown Court.

Mrs Mukhtar added: 'Every parent I've told about this loophole cannot believe it's not a legal requirement to have a DBS [criminal record check].'

In one shocking example, a convicted paedophile resumed working as a private tutor after finishing a rehabilitation programme for sex offenders. 

Robert Mitchell was then jailed again a decade later in 2012 after he was found with almost a quarter of a million indecent images of children on his computers.

Among the hundreds of disks were pictures he had taken of a 17-year-old pupil, Bolton Crown Court heard. 

Sentencing him to four years in prison, Judge Timothy Clayson expressed concern that Mitchell had been able to continue working as a private tutor despite his 2002 conviction.

The list also includes 63-year-old Yi Liu who admitted he was still giving private tuition to a schoolgirl despite last month pleading guilty to sexually abusing former pupils.

He is due to be sentenced today for abusing four boys under the age of 13 between 2012 and 2018.

In Yorkshire, meanwhile, a history tutor branded a 'predatory paedophile' in court had continued teaching youngsters for three years while on bail. 

An online history tutor branded a 'predatory paedophile' was able to continue teaching youngsters while on bail.

Former council chairman Heathcliffe Bowen, 53, was seen as a pillar of the community and taught GCSE and A-level pupils privately for a decade.

But in 2018 he was convicted of paying an underage boy for sex and taking part in sexually explicit online chats with children.

Jailing him for five years, the judge said he had a 'deep and entrenched interest' in boys and had shown 'no remorse'.

et it is understood he continued working as a self-employed history tutor from his arrest in 2015 right up until his sentencing. 

This is despite his bail conditions banning him from unsupervised physical or internet contact with any person under 18. 

Bowen was a well-known figure in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, where he had served as a parish councillor for 20 years and as council chairman three times.

According to his LinkedIn profile, he continued helping A-level and GCSE pupils with their exam revision up until January 2018. 

That same month he was convicted at Bradford Crown Court of six offences relating to attempts to engage children in sexual activity and attempting to meet one child after sexual grooming.

Bowen had claimed the online chats were fantasy and he never intended anything to happen.

But Judge Jonathan David Durham Hall QC said: 'You have persisted in pursuing your lying account from start to

Former council chairman Heathcliffe Bowen, 53, was seen as a pillar of the community and taught GCSE and A-level pupils privately for a decade. 

But in 2018 he was convicted of paying an underage boy for sex and taking part in sexually explicit online chats with youngsters.

The private tuition industry has boomed in the past decade and is now worth about £2billion a year. 

More than a quarter of secondary school pupils have at some point made use of a private tutor, according to educational charity The Sutton Trust.

Yet it remains unregulated despite more than 100,000 tutors estimated to be working full or part-time, according to The Tutors' Association. 

Around half are thought to be private individuals who often rely on word-of-mouth recommendations.

Tutors are not currently required to have an Enhanced DBS Check, which flags if they have a criminal record or are banned from working with children.

Some tutoring companies recommend those signing up to pay £23 to have a Basic DBS Check, which anyone can take, to make their profile 'more appealing' to parents. 

A spokesman for the Disclosure and Barring Service – a governmental body helping employers make safer recruitment decisions – however, said such checks are limited as they only reveal if convictions are 'unspent'.

A private tutor was able to continue teaching children despite pleading guilty to sexually abusing his pupils.

Yi Liu, 63, admitted last month to abusing four boys under the age of 13 between 2012 and 2018. 

Yet he was still tutoring a 15-year-old in GCSE maths online just days before his sentencing today at Southwark Crown Court in London.

He had already been placed under strict bail conditions not to have unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18.

These came into force after prosecutors found he had been able to continue working as a tutor for a year after he was first charged. 

Earlier this week the Mail tracked Liu down to his housing association flat worth around £770,000 in an exclusive neighbourhood of west London.

Asked if he was still tutoring despite his guilty plea, he complained the latest lockdown had made it very difficult. 'At the moment only a GCSE pupil. I tutor her online,' he said.

At a previous hearing, prosecutors called for tougher bail conditions that would stop him having unsupervised contact with children. 

John Riley, prosecuting, said: 'The defendant is still working under the same sort of work which lead to the offences.'

They do not check if the applicant is on the Sex Offenders Register or if they are on the national Children's Barred List, which bans them from working with any under-18s.

Several of Britain's biggest tutoring websites have backed calls for a regulatory body and already ensure all their employees have an Enhanced DBS check.

The Tutors' Association, the only membership body for the profession, has called on the Government to recognise its register of certified individual tutors and companies. 

Costing £99-per-year, members are signed up to the body's safeguarding policy, code of practice, and have an Enhanced DBS check.

Founder Chris Lenton said: 'We need a statutory instrument to say you have to be on the register. Any tutor worth their salt would then want the status of being recognised as a member. It's a very strong marketing tool surely.'

Anne Longfield, Children's Commissioner for England, said: 'It is very concerning that some who already have convictions for abusing children can evade detection because they are not required to provide a DBS check. 

'The Government should look at this loophole and see how it can be closed.'

 



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