A father who booked additional online classes for his teenage daughter was amazed and disgusted at being paired with a teacher who was dropped for sending nude photos of himself to a 16-year-old girl.
He had reached out to the multimillion-pound ‘Go Student’ website last Friday asking for additional math and physics lessons to help with his daughter’s GCSEs.
They booked a taster session on Sunday and 30 minutes before class was due to start, they text him the teacher’s name – Anthony Canavan.
‘Being suspicious by nature, I just Googled the name,’ said the 49-year-old father, ‘and a story surfaced about how a teacher with this name had been cut for sending nude photos of himself to a teenage student.
There was a picture of the man so I waited to see if the same guy showed up on the zoom call to teach my 15 year old daughter and sure enough it was him. I couldn’t believe what was happening. ‘
Ex-teacher Anthony Canavan, 60, got a life ban from teaching in 2018 but was found to be teaching on ‘Go Student’
After a few formalities, the dad asked Canavan, 60, if he’d ever Googled his own name and said, “Got it and you’re a pedophile not allowed to teach.”
Describing the scene, the father, who doesn’t want to be named by name, said, “He mumbled and clumsily and said,” Oh, are you talking about that stuff from five years ago. ” At that point, I disconnected and contacted the company. ‘
In an email response, their CEO Felix Ohswald thanked the parent for informing and said they immediately blocked Canavan.
He claimed he applied to them “ by a different name ” and then, amazingly, seemed to admit that they hadn’t bothered to run basic child safety checks on those who employ them.
The email read: ‘Providing our students with a high quality learning experience in a safe environment is our top priority. We are a young and fast-growing company and do everything we can to continuously improve our service.
‘That is why we immediately started implementing an automated process with DBS to prevent such incidents from ever occurring again.’
It then offered parents a visit to their offices in London or Vienna and four weeks of free tutoring.
The father, from Pinner, Middlesex added: ‘It was a pathetic response. How can they expect me to believe this man applied with a different name if I only know his name because they told me?
Felix Ohswald, CEO of Go Student, thanked the parent for informing and said they immediately blocked Canavan
And what kind of company that works with kids around the world wouldn’t screen their staff?
Look, you accept that there are risks to your children when they are out of the house, but that a multinational company has that risk sent to your home is a completely different matter.
‘I am shocked by how many children this man has had access to and I am shocked that a company with so much funding can care so little about the safety of their customers.
‘How many pedophiles do they still have on their books? It was an insult to offer me a free tour of their offices. They should be closed, frankly. ‘
The company, Go Student, based in Vienna, Austria, was founded in 2016 and claims to have worked with 10,000 families.
It has raised more than $ 100 million in venture capital support and has grown enormously during the coronavirus pandemic, with parents around the world looking to complement school closures with online support.
In recent months, it has opened new offices in Lyon, London, Madrid, Düsseldorf, Berlin and Milan with further offices in Athens, Istanbul and Amsterdam planned for later this year.
And this week, it raised an additional $ 70 million in funding with plans to hire 10,000 teachers.
It was in 2018 that Canavan, then a teacher at Manchester Communication Academy, was given a lifelong teaching due to his behavior.
Canavan, who was a teacher at Manchester Communication Academy (pictured), was dropped after it was discovered that he had exchanged indecent images with a 16-year-old ex-student he became friends with on Facebook.
A Teaching Regulation Panel hearing learned that he had exchanged indecent images with the 16-year-old ex-apprentice after befriending her on Facebook in 2016.
Police reports showed that he had sent numerous text messages to the girl, and the panel’s report found that they were “ openly sexually suggestive of sexual contact between the two if they met. ”
When Canavan was arrested in June 2016, six indecent images of children were found on his phone.
The panel was arrested in August 2018 for having an indecent image of a child in relation to the six photos Mr Canavan had of student A on his phone at the time of his arrest.
On August 2, 2016, Mr. Canavan received a police warning for possessing an indecent photo or pseudo photo of a child.
In a letter to the TRA panel, Mr Canavan said he regretted what had happened and that his actions were ‘foolish, irresponsible and unprofessional’.
But panelists said his apology “showed little regret for his actions” and said he was “trying to make excuses for his behavior.”
A GoStudent spokeswoman said: “By allowing Anthony Canavan to become a GoStudent online math teacher, we have fallen well below our own standards and security rules.
‘We regret this very much. When this was brought to our attention, we have the freelance services of Mr. Canavan immediately terminated and can no longer work as a GoStudent online tutor.
“We have already changed our recruiting practices to ensure that we request an improved DBS check, which is currently not required by UK tutoring law. We also retrain all staff involved in hiring teachers to ensure they understand our protection policy and can apply it correctly.
“Finally we got in touch with the police and let them know that Anthony Canavan is continuing to look for work with organizations where he has access to children or vulnerable people.”