A HEADTEACHER banned from the classroom indefinitely after skipping school to take part in a charity bike ride in Cuba said ‘he regretted’ the fallout of his actions.

Ian McCann, who was forced to resign from his role at Rosewood Primary School in Burnley last year, obtained a sick note from his doctor after being refused leave by the governors’ board, a disciplinary panel heard.

But while he was off sick for a ‘stress-related problem’ the Huncoat resident went to the Caribbean island in October 2015 for the charity event in memory of his father, who had died from cancer the year before.

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Mr McCann’s case was heard before a panel of the National College for Teaching and Leadership who found his actions amounted to ‘unacceptable conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute’.

He was banned from teaching indefinitely, but can ask for the decision to be reviewed in three years.

Speaking after the decision was published, Mr McCann, said: “I am proud of the achievements throughout my career.

“It happened two years ago and I want to remember all the children and staff and thank the people I have worked with.

“I wish my successor all the best.

“The whole thing should have been handled differently. It caused me physical and mental stress in a way I could never have foreseen.

“I did it because I needed to do it for my dad and no one will take that away from me.

“I regret all the difficulties that this has brought for everyone.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to teaching.”

Decision maker Alan Meyrick said the findings of his misconduct were ‘particularly serious’.

He said: “The panel is particularly concerned that Mr McCann, as headteacher, had deliberately flouted the authority of the governing body and taken leave of absence to go to Cuba during term time which had not been authorised by the governing body.

“It is difficult to think of a worse example that he could have set to the staff and pupils at the school.

He added: “In my judgement the lack of insight means that there is some considerable risk of the repetition of this behaviour.”

Mr McCann, 59, was suspended from the Rosewood Avenue school in 2015 and following a disciplinary investigation by Lancashire County Council he quit.

The former Haslingden Primary School teacher, who did not attend the hearing citing physical and mental health issues, admitted to the panel he had a doctor's note stating he was unable to work due to sickness between October 12 and November 2, 2015, that he was absent from work until October 25 and that he went to Cuba.

However, he denied there was a link between the timing of his GP assessment and his participation in the ride.

The hearing heard he had written to the governors in March 2015 asking for eight days' unpaid leave for the trip but that was denied. A month later a second request was denied.

The panel heard Mr McCann told a teacher in September that he intended to go to on the trip ‘regardless of the consequences’, because he had already spent £2,000 as a deposit and had ‘not decided whether to go on the sick or not’.

He had also been to the doctor for travel vaccines that month.

Photos of him on the trip were published on Facebook and in a national newspaper, the panel heard.

In a statement provided to the panel by Mr McCann, he said he had ‘been suffering from stress brought on by not only the death of his father in autumn 2014 but also the fact that certain pupils had presented with very challenging behaviour throughout 2015’.

He also said it would be an activity of curriculum enrichment, extending children’s learning and forging links between the school and other schools in the Caribbean which the panel found was ‘wholly disingenuous’.