A FORMER teacher has been hit with a lifetime ban from the professions after being convicted of possessing vile indecent images of children. 

Austin Betts, 34, worked as a teacher at the Woodlands School, in Basildon, from September 1, 2016 until July 2021.

 He was suspended following his arrest and in July 2022 he was handed a suspended prison sentence and ordered to sign the sex offenders register after admitting making indecent images, two counts of distributing indecent images of children and possession of extreme pornography.

He was found with the images when officers raided his home in Mendip Crescent, Westcliff, after receiving information that indecent videos of children had been uploaded online from the property.

Now, he has been banned indefinitely from the profession following a teacher misconduct hearing. 

The hearing report, published on Thursday, stated: “The panel also took account of the way the teaching profession is viewed by others.

“The panel considered that Betts’ behaviour in committing the offences would be likely to affect public confidence in the teaching profession if Betts was allowed to continue teaching.”

Betts was found with more than 1,700 indecent images and more than 460 indecent videos of child and animal abuse, his sentencing hearing heard in July 2022. 

Concluding, decision maker Marc Cavey said: “Austin Betts 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 Betts shall not be entitled to apply for restoration of his eligibility to teach.
“This order takes effect from the date on which it is served.”

At the time of his conviction, the school wrote to parents to confirm that Betts had been suspended as soon as he was arrested and that full safeguarding checks were carried out before he was employed by the school. 

As well as being put on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years, Betts was also made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for ten years.