Ian Webber: PE teacher who smacked four-year-old’s knee for throwing tantrum gets lifetime ban from profession

The ban means Webber can’t work in any school, sixth-form colleges youth accommodation, and children's homes indefinitely

Ian Webber: PE teacher who smacked four-year-old’s knee for throwing tantrum gets lifetime ban from profession
The teacher hit the student twice on the knees during an after-school football club (Representational image/ Getty Images)
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A physical education (PE) teacher has been banned from the profession after he smacked a four-year-old nursery school kid for throwing a tantrum. The ban put on Ian Webber is indefinite and he can’t work in any school, sixth-form colleges youth accommodation, and children's homes in England. Webber hit the student twice on the knees during an after-school football club after the child had a tantrum. The 56-year-old at the time told the toddler at a school in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, “If you kick me again, I'll smack you,” before striking him.

Regarding the incident that happened in May 2018, a Teaching Regulation Agency panel recently found his behavior “inappropriate”. The panel chairman, Alan Meyrick, said as reported by The Daily Mail, “His conduct involved inappropriate physical contact with a very young nursery-aged child. It involved repeated slapping of a four-year-old child on the knees in response to his behavior at after-school football practice. Furthermore, the conduct took place in the context of an earlier written warning at the same school (in 2016) following previous inappropriate physical contact by Mr Webber towards another child.”

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Meyrick added: “In light of the panel's findings against Mr Webber... there was a strong public interest consideration in respect of the protection of pupils. The panel was of the view that prohibition was both proportionate and appropriate. Mr Webber's glaring lack of remorse concerning what he did and clear lack of insight into its effect was a significant factor in forming that opinion. Despite the findings of the criminal court, at which he denied any wrongdoing, he maintained his denials before this panel.”

In 2019, when the teacher of 16 years was on trial at the Birmingham Magistrates' Court, he denied hitting the child. He claimed that the hitting sound that the witnesses heard was of him giving the child a "high five". However, despite all his efforts, he was convicted and was given a conditional discharge, ordered to pay the court costs, which came up to $1201 (£850), as well as a victim surcharge of ($28) £20.

At the time, District Judge David Robinson said, “Mr. Webber, I take into account that you were dealing with a difficult situation. You were doing the right thing until you did wrong. You were the adult and he was the child. You responded to being kicked and punched. This was an isolated offense in a long teaching career. This is likely to have a significant impact on your future. I found the evidence of the four boys clear and plausible. I believe the boys. I'm sure he is guilty of the two slaps alleged and I'm sure a conditional discharge is appropriate."

At the time, the student’s mother said to the court, “I went there to pick up at around 6 pm from the sports hall. My youngest son looked sad and I spoke to one of the coaches as to why he was sad. He said my son was having a tantrum and said that Mr. Webber was trying to calm him down. I was embarrassed that my son had kicked a teacher that I took no notice of what Mr. Webber had said to my son. My son was quiet on the way back, I spoke to him and he showed me he smacked him on each knee really hard. [Another boy] said the coach told him not to watch whilst it was happening."

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