Head charged with child sex offences

The head teacher of St Bartholomew’s C of E Primary School in West Pinchbeck has been charged with three counts of online sexual offences against a child.

Lincolnshire Police said James Shawley (43), of Hereward Street in Bourne, has been charged with the following online offences: Attempting sexual communication with a child, attempt to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity, and attempt to arrange or facilitate the commission of a child sex offence.

He has been bailed and is due to appear at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court on April 30.

Shawley has been absent from his post since January, with no explanation offered to parents until a meeting was called on Tuesday night, more than three months after he left his post.

Sent earlier this month, a letter written to parents by Miren Haines-Gough, chair of the governing body, said: “Mr Shawley continues to be absent from school and we expect this situation to continue for the remainder of this term. As soon as we have any updates, we will inform you immediately.”

The letter continues: “We thank you for your patience in this matter and can assure you that [interim head] Mrs Foster and the staff team have ensured that the children are not negatively impacted by Mr Shawley’s absence.”

Letters addressing the situation in January and February said Shawley was absent “for personal reasons”.

This week Lincolnshire County Council provided a statement.

Martin Smith, Interim Assistant Director for Education, said: “We are aware that the police have charged Mr Shawley with three offences.

“We continue to provide the school with an experienced headteacher from the local authority who has ensured the smooth running of the school and that children are safe and well supported.

“The interim headteacher will continue to oversee arrangements at the school as we deal with the unprecedented national events.

“The safeguarding and welfare of pupils continues to be our highest priority.”

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