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Spalding area school reviewed policies in wake of former headteacher's court case

A review was conducted into the safeguarding policies of a school whose head teacher was jailed for sending sexual messages to a teenage ‘boy’.

James Shawley (45) had been the head teacher of St Bartholomew’s Primary School in West Pinchbeck until he was suspended in December 2019, following his arrest.

He was jailed for four and a half years at Lincoln Crown Court on Friday for four charges relating to messaging a boy who turned out to be an undercover police officer.

James Shawley (47182252)
James Shawley (47182252)

It’s understood that there were no issues raised with his conduct at school - with staff or pupils.

Lincolnshire County Council says that, regardless of this, a review was conducted and the school’s safeguarding policies were found to be robust.

Martin Smith, assistant director for education, said: “Keeping children safe is a priority for the council, and all local schools have rigorous safeguarding measures in place.

“Although no concerns were raised regarding pupils at the school, the acting headteacher reviewed the school’s safeguarding procedures after being appointed.

“They were found to be robust, with no changes deemed necessary.

“We will continue to support the school moving forward, ensuring the children remain safe and well-supported.”

The court heard that Shawley was head of the school from 2016 and had coached Spalding Under 11s and Bourne Town Juniors.

He had previously worked at other schools in the area - but the county council refused to confirm his previous employment record.

The court heard that Shawley continued to be paid his salary while suspended - and this arrangement only ended upon the guilty verdict on Friday.

T he Lincolnshire Free Press understands that the salary bracket for a headteacher of a school the size of St Bartholomew’s is currently £47,735 to £63,508.

We approached the county council to ask if it now plans to recover the money it paid to Shawley during this time in light of the guilty verdict.

A spokesman for the county council declined to comment, stating: “We are not allowed to comment on things relating to individuals.”

The police were able to catch Shawley after posing as a 14-year-old boy on an online dating site for gay, bi, trans, and queer people.

Officers have been praised for their work in helping to bring Shawley to justice with their sting.

Detective Inspector Paul Coleman said: “I am really pleased that this has been brought to a successful conclusion, especially given the impact that this has had on the school and the local community.

“I would like to sincerely thank the officers involved in this case whose sheer diligence has led to today’s result.”

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