A FORMER principal who admitted to slapping a pupil across the face has been allowed to continue teaching.

Frank Lewis, a former teacher at the Mesivta High School, in Charlton Avenue, Prestwich, has avoided being given a prohibitive order from the Teaching Regulation Agency, after going before a professional conduct panel on July 9.

The panel heard how Mr Lewis admitted to having "behaved inappropriately and/or aggressively", on or around July 26 last year, slapping a pupil, referred to as Pupil A, across the face.

It was also alleged that Mr Lewis was guilty of "unacceptable professional conduct and/or conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute" ­— something he later admitted to.

Mr Lewis had been employed at Mesivta High School between August, 2005, and July, 2017 ­— serving as principal from his start date until 2010.

He was then employed as a Jewish studies teacher until his resignation in 2017, and was referred to in these roles as "Rabbi Lewis".

Following the incident, Mr Lewis reported what happened to the school's headteacher on July 26, and admitted he slapped Pupil A across the face, the panel's report said.

The incident was then referred to Bury Council, but Pupil A and their parents did not want the matter to be referred to police, instead wishing it to be handled internally by the school.

Mr Lewis resigned from his role on August 1 last year, and the allegations were then further referred to the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

During the professional conduct panel, oral evidence was heard in mitigation of Mr Lewis, and two character witnesses were called by his representative.

The panel found that Mr Lewis had breached teaching standards relating to upholding public trust in the profession and maintaining high standards of ethics and behaviour inside and outside of school.

It also found that he had breached standards in the treatment of pupils, professional boundaries, and safeguarding.

The report said that Mr Lewis' misconduct had been "of a serious nature which fell significantly short of the standards expected of a teacher", and was "outside that which could be reasonably tolerated".

"Teachers should not strike pupils. Consequently, the panel finds Mr Lewis guilty of unacceptable professional conduct," the report said.

However, it added "that the nature and severity of the behaviour is not at the most serious end of the spectrum".

Despite Mr Lewis' admissions and breaches of conduct the panel decided not to issue a prohibition order, due to his over 35 years of teaching service and "otherwise unblemished record".

The panel noted that there was a "strong public interest" in allowing Mr Lewis to continue teaching "since no doubt has been cast upon his abilities as an educator".

The report said: "Mr Lewis has had a long and unblemished career and the panel took into account the oral evidence, references and testimonials which attested to his teaching ability.

"The panel was satisfied that Mr Lewis could continue to make a valuable contribution to the profession in the future, given his particular expertise."

The panel further explained its decision on the grounds that Mr Lewis had made factual admissions, had been "open and honest throughout", and had displayed "insight into his failings and shown profound regret and remorse".

Labelling his conduct as "uncharacteristic behaviour", the panel concluded that "Mr Lewis had momentarily lost self-control in response to the challenging situation".

Finally, the report said that Mr Lewis' actions may have been influenced by his suffering from a health condition and "circumstances" at the time, adding that it believed he was unlikely to repeat behaviour, having taken steps to avoid placing himself in a similar situation in future.

A Bury Council spokesman said: "As soon as Bury Council were made aware of this matter an immediate investigation was carried out.

"The findings of this investigation were then followed up by the appropriate authorities which resulted in the findings of the professional conduct panel."

The school have been approached for comment.