A teacher who is accused of inappropriate behaviour, including sexual assaulting a pupil, began giving his testimony this week at a professional conduct panel.
Denis McCarthy, who taught at Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley (RSSKL) for almost 34 years until January 2017, said the various accusations were a mixture of the untrue, incidents which had been misconstrued, and things which he could not remember.
And he added that he had an unblemished record until problems with the parents of a child known as Student A.
He told the panel on Monday: “In the first 26 years that I taught I never experienced anything like this.”
Mr McCarthy, who is a father of six, described himself as a “hands-on” teacher and parent.
“I really think it’s helpful that there’s contact,” he said.
“Not that I make a specific effort but I don’t shy away from it.
“When I started teaching it was much the same, I started teaching six-year-old children and one of the things I tried to do always when I was teaching was visit their homes to understand them and understand what makes them do what they do.”
The accusations against Mr McCarthy also include acting inappropriately by touching young female students and having them sit on his lap, ignoring instructions not to do so until he was eventually suspended, and holding a lesson where he told students to list all of the swear words that they knew – many of which were of a sexual nature.
Mr McCarthy has already said the swear words lesson was misunderstood, and was intended to show students how not to use inappropriate language.
The hearing heard from Mr McCarthy that he did not believe in treating all students the same, as “that’s not always fair”. However he denied having favourites, as some witnesses have claimed.
Last week the Gazette reported the testimony of Student A.
She claimed that, when she was 10 years old, Mr McCarthy had called her into an empty classroom, where he took her up against a wall before pulling her underwear and leggings down to her knees.
This was not reported to the police until several years later.
Mr McCarthy denies this happened, and noted that the girl’s recollection of the preceding lesson involved drawing maps – something students would not do until the following school year.
He added: “She apparently suffered no physical problems after it. She didn’t report it, didn’t tell anyone. That confirms to me that there’s no truth in this.”
The hearing continues.
Also this week: Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley: Mother tells how her son was forced to read a “very racial” poem about a gay monkey every week for a year
Last week’s report: Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley: Former teacher denies sexual assault in classroom