A HEADTEACHER at an East Lancashire school - found to have groped two female colleagues - has been banned from his profession for life.

Michael Stobart placed his hand on the buttocks of one fellow staff member, in the kitchen at Belmont School in Rawtenstall, a Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) hearing was told.

And he then proceeded to place his hand between the woman's legs, in an October 2016 incident witnessed by another colleague, the tribunal heard.

An investigation was launched into Mr Stobart's conduct and two separate allegations, involving the same female member of staff, then came to light.

An internal inquiry at the Haslingden Road school was told he had put his arm around the colleague, during an awards assembly in 2015, and squeezed her buttock.

She had felt his actions were "wrong and inappropriate", it was reported, but had not made a complaint regarding them at the time.

Another incident was said to have occurred in a medical room at the school, in February 2017, when Mr Stobart "touched her backside".

She again was made to feel uncomfortable, the TRA panel heard, but had not raised the matter as a formal grievance.

Mr Stobart, now 61, who held the title of executive principal at Belmont, a £30,000 a year day school for boys aged seven to 18, rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted, left there in April 2017.

He failed to attend the TRA hearing in Coventry, which heard evidence from the first alleged victim. The second colleague declined to take part in the proceedings directly.

The facts of the three separate claims were found to be proven - and the panel also ruled that the conduct was sexually motivated and amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.

Panel chairman Tony Woodward said that neither the staff member, nor the witness, in the first incident, had any motive to lie about what had taken place.

Mr Stobart had denied the incident took place and claimed, in the internal investigation, that he had made accusations of misconduct concerning the witness.

The panel also found that, despite it being hearsay evidence, that the account of the second staff member, over the the second and third incidents, was entirely credible.

Ruling that Mr Stobart should be banned from teaching indefinitely Alan Meyrick, on behalf of the Secretary of State, said the head could apply for his disqualification to be renewed after two years.

"In my judgement, the lack of remorse or insight means that there is some risk of the repetition of this behaviour," he added.