Former UKIP politician exposed by The Herald banned from schools for life

Ron Northcott

A FORMER UKIP politician and teacher, exposed by The Herald last year for making abusive comments on Twitter, has been banned from classrooms for life.

Ron Northcott, 66, a former election candidate in Plymouth, was forced to resign from the UK Independence Party in May last year 2013 after abusing Scottish people on Twitter.

A disciplinary panel found that he was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.

In a decision announced on behalf of Education Secretary Michael Gove, Mr Northcott, was banned indefinitely from teaching in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.

Mr Northcott, who was working at St Boniface’s Roman Catholic college in Plymouth last year, was found to have made abusive comments about Scottish people, Catholics, Muslims and immigrants.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) professional conduct panel found that he published to the internet “views that undermined tolerance of and respect for the rights of others and tolerance of and respect for those with different faiths and beliefs”.

It said he posted posted on Twitter “numerous derogatory and offensive comments, among other things, about Scottish people, Catholics, Muslims and immigrants”.

Mr Northcott admitted the allegations, but denied that the facts amounted to unacceptable professional conduct or conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.

He did not appear before the panel and The Herald was unable to contact him.

Mr Northcott had submitted that the disciplinary proceedings were brought about “by politics and not education”, maintaining that what he tweeted was “fact and not malicious.”

He claimed that no personal, political or religious beliefs had ever been imparted in his classroom.

Recommending that he should be banned from teaching, panel chair Mary Speakman said: “We find many of the views expressed to be in conflict with fundamental British values.

“Much of the language is inflammatory and abusive. Many of the posts express intolerant attitudes to ethnicity, religious beliefs and nationalities.

“Mr Northcott’s views received wide local coverage and criticism both in a prominent local newspaper [The Herald] and in various blogs published on the internet.”

Giving the final decision on behalf of the Secretary of State, NCTL official Paul Heathcote said: “His behaviour evidences a serious departure from the personal and professional elements of the teachers’ standards, specifically showing tolerance of and respect for the rights of others; and not undermining fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”

The panel had recommended that Mr Northcott should be allowed to apply for the order to be set aside after five years.

But Mr Heathcote said : “Mr Northcott has evidenced a deep-seated attitude, lack of insight and wide-ranging intolerance and I have decided, taking account of the public interest, that it is both appropriate and proportionate that the order should be without opportunity for review.”

Mr Northcott has a right of appeal to the High Court.

In the 2011 council elections, Mr Northcott was UKIP candidate for Honicknowle ward. He finished in second place behind Labour councillor Mark Lowry and pushed the Conservative candidate into third place.

He repeated his success in 2012 last year, when he came second to Labour’s Peter Smith.

Born and brought up in Honicknowle, he is a former dockyard apprentice and a secondary schoolteacher.

From The Plymouth Herald . 10.03.14 . Report by Keith Rossiter

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