Former Derby Teacher Tobias Yates is Banned from Education After Sexually Abusing Pupils

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Kate Hall

Solicitor, Abuse

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TW: This article covers themes of abuse

Tobias Yates was a maths teacher at Chellaston Academy in Derby until 2020, when he admitted to committing 18 sexual offences against two of his female pupils over several years. He has now been banned from teaching in any capacity, including in schools, sixth form colleges and in children’s homes.

The panel that made this decision described Yates’ behaviour as “calculated and motivated” and stated that the prohibition order was needed to protect other children and to maintain the essential level of trust that is given to people in teaching positions.

Yates was sentenced to ten years and six months in prison at Derby Crown Court in March 2020 after both young girls bravely read out their own respective statements.

Professional conduct panel meeting outcome

On the 17th of August 2022, two years after Yates’ sentencing, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education was held. The panel decided that his numerous convictions of sexual offences means that there was a strong public interest to safeguard the wellbeing of pupils everywhere. Given the seriousness of the offences of inappropriate relations with children, grooming, and his abuse of position of trust, the court findings were very much in line with their decision. Mr Stephen Chappel, chair of the panel said:

“The findings mean that Mr Tobias Yates is prohibited from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England. Furthermore, in view of the seriousness of the allegations found proved against him, I have decided that Mr Yates shall not be entitled to apply for restoration of his eligibility to teach.”

The panel has also said “a review period was not appropriate was reinforced as it could not be confident that Mr Yates would not repeat the behaviours.”

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How Does Abuse Happen in Schools?

We know that positions of power can facilitate abuse if an individual is intent on inflicting emotional, sexual or physical harm.

We’re also aware that abusers are often manipulative and in an educational setting this can mean that they are able to gain the trust of students, parents and colleagues. In Yates’ case, he was able to remain in his job for eight years, despite the horrendous offences he was carrying out during most of his time there.

One of the young girls affected by Yates’ abuse explained in Court how she was “so scared of doing something wrong”, as she’d been led to believe by Yates that he would take his own life if she refused to speak to him, or worse – reported what was happening. 

Yates was clearly aware of the power he held over each of the girls – one of whom was just 13 years old when the abuse began, and he used this to repeatedly take advantage of them. At his initial sentencing, the Court heard how Yates would sexually abuse the two young pupils in his classroom, demand explicit photos and bombard them with text messages outside of school.

Like the convicted former Oldham headteacher, Christopher Pickup, Yates often acted in a brazen manner and on one occasion even inappropriately touched one of the girls while a trainee teacher was giving a lesson.

It cannot be described how damaging this abuse would have been on the girls who were affected, with much of it taking place during their GCSE exams. It’s likely that they’ll also suffer psychologically in the long-term because of Yates’ behaviour which the presiding Judge described as “depraved”.

As Abuse Lawyers, we find it deeply disturbing that Yates was able to abuse his trusted position in the way that he did. But we know that there will be others who have been affected by similar abuses of power who have not yet had any form of justice carried out.

"Unfortunately, a teacher abusing their position of power to manipulate and abuse children is a story that we hear all too often. We have brought successful civil claims for a number of clients who suffered abuse by teachers in both public and private schools."

-Kate Hall, Senior Abuse Paralegal

Is it Ever Too Late to Make a Historic Abuse Claim?

It’s not uncommon for people who have experienced abuse to feel hesitant about taking legal action. The Court is aware of this and there is a level of discretion in terms of the time limits applied on these types of claims.

We know that coming forward is not easy. People who inflict abuse will often make you feel like you’re completely isolated in your experience, but this is rarely true. In the case of Yates, neither of the girls affected knew that the other had been subject to his abuse until the offences were revealed.

If you have worries or concerns about whether you can make a claim, our friendly and approachable team will speak to you as part of a free, no obligation conversation and let you know how we might be able to help.

Get in touch with our expert Abuse Solicitors for open, friendly advice.

Helping children abused in schools

No child should feel unsafe in school or at risk of abuse. Sadly, abuse in schools can and does happen, and it can leave victims feeling too afraid to speak out.

Our Solicitors have a huge amount of experience helping people who have been victims of child abuse get the justice they deserve. We’ve helped survivors of child abuse get justice and compensation after they took the brave step of coming forward about their abuse. No matter how long ago the abuse took place, it’s never too late to get closure.

Making a Claim for Child Abuse in School

The first thing you should do is report your, or your child’s, abuse to the police. We understand this is a difficult step and we can help guide you through this. If you have reason to believe that someone working in a school is abusing children, you should report these concerns to the police as well.

Abuse in schools can happen in different ways. For example:

  • It can be a one-off incident, or it can happen on several occasions
  • It can span several years
  • There can be more than one victim
  • There can be more than one abuser
  • It can be sexual, physical or emotional
  • It can happen in state, private, boarding and religious schools

Often abusers are in a position of trust and power, for example a teacher or another staff member, but victims can also be abused by another student.

How we could help 

If you’ve experienced abuse as a child, you might feel hesitant to take legal action if a lot of time has passed. But as we’ve seen in this case, a successful prosecution can still be brought, and even so if its decades after the abuse took place.

If you’ve already been through the process of reporting your abuse to the police, our abuse solicitors could help you make a civil claim for compensation.

If you were abused in your former school, we would bring a claim on your behalf against the Local Authority who failed in their legal responsibility to keep you safe and protect you from physical and sexual abuse.  

We’ll provide you with support throughout the claims process and offer you access to our large network of survivor groups. No matter how long ago the abuse took place, it’s never too late to seek legal action.

Whenever you’re ready to talk, we’ll listen to the details of your situation as part of a confidential, no-obligation conversation and let you know the next steps if you decide to go forward. Call us on: 0808 239 1287.

References:

"Preventing Abuse in Positions of Trust." NSPCC. [Online]. Available: https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/research-resources/briefings/preventing-abuse-positions-of-trust. [Accessed: October 26, 2023].

"Professional Conduct Panel Outcome - Mr. Tobias Yates." UK Government. [Online]. Available: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1102984/Mr_Tobias_Yates_Professional_conduct_panel_outcome_...pdf. [Accessed: October 26, 2023].

"Children Act 2004, Schedule 3." UK Legislation. [Online]. Available: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/42/schedule/3. [Accessed: October 26, 2023].

"Sexual Harm Prevention Orders (SHPOs) - Legal Guidance." Crown Prosecution Service. [Online]. Available: https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/rape-and-sexual-offences-chapter-15-sexual-harm-prevention-orders-shpos. [Accessed: October 26, 2023].

"Man Jailed for More Than 10 Years for Committing Sexual Offenses Against Two Teenage Girls." Derbyshire Police. [Online]. Available: https://www.derbyshire.police.uk/news/derbyshire/news/news/south/2020/march/man-jailed-for-more-than-10-years-for-committing-sexual-offences-against-two-teenage-girls/.

"Derby man found guilty of child sexual exploitation." BBC News. [Online]. Available: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-62839045. [Accessed: October 26, 2023].

Kate Hall

Solicitor, Abuse

Areas of Expertise:
Abuse Claims

Kate works as a Solicitor in our Abuse Claims Department.

After completing her education at Leeds Beckett University in 2018, Kate decided to specialise in Abuse Claims. Within this department, she has gained experience dealing with Civil Claims against various institutions including local authorities, public schools, religious institutions and charitable organisations. This includes the Manchester Homes 2 Group Action and the claims against Manchester City Council for abuse at St Anne’s School. Kate has also successfully navigated claims through the Lambeth and Manchester City Redress Schemes.

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