A music teacher who was sacked after concerns were raised about his behaviour at a sixth form prom has now been banned from the profession. 

Stephen Olanipekun, 38, was dismissed from his position at Blackfen School for Girls in December 2019. 

On July 7, 2023, the Teaching Regulation Authority found that he failed to maintain appropriate professional boundaries with several pupils during his time at the school. 

Mr Olanipekun had been texting one pupil, including sending messages late at night and at weekends. 

He asked her to message him on Snap Chat, heightening safeguarding concerns as messages on the photo app disappear after a short period of time. 

Some of the messages were signed with an “x” and the tone of the messages were inappropriate and overly familiar, the panel found. 

On another occasion he drove a pupil home from school, telling the pupil to meet him at the petrol station down the street so his actions were not detected. 

Mr Olanipekun explained that he gave her a lift home because she had been feeling unwell and had nobody to pick her up. 

He received a final written warning about his conduct in February 2019, but matters came to a head at the sixth form prom in June 2019 when his colleagues became concerned about his behaviour with one pupil. 

Another teacher noticed that Mr Olanipekun had his arm around a pupil and that this was making other pupils feel uncomfortable. 

His colleague approached him and removed his arm from the pupil. However, the panel found that Mr Olanipekun then put his arm back around the pupil. 

He had also allowed the pupil to lean on him and later in the night he allowed two pupils to share an Uber with him. 

Mr Olanipekun stated that he booked three cars but two cancelled, so when his Uber arrived he allowed two pupils to share a car with him. 

The panel found no evidence that any of his behaviour was sexually motivated and he said he was just being jovial and friendly. 

Mr Olanipekun told the panel he believed he had brought himself, the school and his faith into disrepute and he had received a lot of guidance and support from church members who have helped him to reflect. 

He was described as a “passionate teacher” who had a “natural gift” for building a rapport with pupils. 

After hearing all the evidence, the panel said that he may have a lot to offer the teaching profession in the future. 

It was therefore decided that he should be banned from teaching but that he should be able to apply to have his ability to teach reinstated in two years’ time. 

“The panel considered that this (a two-year review period) would be a sufficient period of time during which Mr Olanipekun could further develop his insight and provide evidence of remediation to a panel that he would not repeat similar behaviour towards pupils,” the TRA decided.