A former Uxbridge High School principal, and his deputy, who failed to protect a 13-year-old pupil from abuse at the hands of a Commonwealth Games athlete working there as a teaching assistant can return to work, a tribunal has ruled.

Peter Lang, ex-head of Uxbridge High School, and previous vice-principal Judith Barton failed to tell police about serious allegations that could have helped police catch decathlete Kevin Sempers.

He ignored an anonymous caller, who told Lang of messages sent to the pupil on Facebook with reference by Sempers to the navel or 'belly' and cleavage of the girl and that he had said words to the effect of he 'wished she were older'.

Sempers, and who attended Brunel University and was a decathlete who competed at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, molested the schoolgirl on two consecutive days after first contacting her on Facebook.

The 30-year-old athlete, originally from Scunthorpe, was jailed for 18 months in December 2014 , and placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years, after admitting two counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child.

peter lang
Peter Lang, former Uxbridge High School principal failed to protect a 13-year-old pupil from abuse

Lang and Barton, who was also the school's designated safeguarding officer (DSO), both resigned following the incident.

The pair took a 'mystery' leave of absence before announcing their resignations officially in October 2014 .

Lang had been described as 'inspirational' by Ofsted, and met David Cameron at 10 Downing Street, who personally thanked Lang for their achievements, after it became an academy in June 2011.

The school was also visited by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2012.

Peter Lang (left) meets Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall at their 2012 Uxbridge High School visit

Lang admitted failing to adequately investigate the allegation against Sempers and failing to inform the local authorities about of the safeguarding concerns.

He had told the hearing of his 'deep remorse' for what happened to the girl but insisted none of his actions were deliberate.

Barton, who did not attend the three-day hearing, admitted safeguarding failures but said she gave personal support after the initial Facebook incident.

The pair can now return to work after a National College of Teaching and Leadership tribunal decided there was no need to ban them from the profession.

Staff ignored two anonymous complaints until local authority stepped in

Barton had received an anonymous call alleging Sempers had made inappropriate contact with the girl on Facebook on November 22, 2011.

The caller claimed there was reference by Sempers to the navel or 'belly' and cleavage of the pupil and that he had said words to the effect of he 'wished she were older'.

Barton asked another staff member to investigate the allegations and agreed to meet with Sempers.

The investigation found that Sempers and the pupil were Facebook friends and he was allowed to continue working at the school.

David Cameron personally thanked Peter Lang at a 10 Downing Street reception

Barton received a second anonymous call from the same person on April 29 2013, reporting inappropriate contact between Sempers and the pupil.

She arranged to meet with Sempers but the meeting failed to take place, partly due to illness, and the anonymous caller notified local authority designated officer for safeguarding (LADO) who told the police of the allegation.

Lang and Barton had resigned from the school after a number of strategy meetings on September 11 2014.

An NCTL panel found that Barton had failed to protect and provide support for the pupil in 2013 but found that she did not fail in the same duties in 2011.

Barton admitted failing to act adequately in regard to safeguarding and failing to inform LADO.

She was also found to have failed to accurately record safeguarding logs and failing to have disclosed full details of the initial allegations at a strategy meeting in 2013.

In deciding whether or not to ban Barton from teaching, the panel noted that Ofsted had rated the school as 'outstanding' for child protection and safeguarding in 2011 and that Barton had “gained a false sense of reassurance from such an assessment and believed that she was fulfilling her role competently”.

Principal 'failed' in his approach after hearing of inappropriate Facebook messages

Mike Carter, chair of the NCTL panel, said: “Mr Lang failed to approach this incident as a matter of safeguarding or child protection despite the fact that he was aware that the content of the Facebook message referenced Pupil A's navel and cleavage.

“He had failed to keep himself sufficiently informed of issues relating to child protection and safeguarding to enable him to fully understand the expectations of him as principal and the responsibilities that form part of his role in ensuring the safety and welfare of pupils at the school.

“Had he acquired the appropriate level of knowledge through proper training, his approach would have been fundamentally different in respect of the events of 2011 and 2013”.

Mr Carter explained that as DSO, Ms Barton had a “critical role to fulfil” in ensuring the protection of the welfare and safety of pupils at the school.

He continued: “Had proper action being taken in 2011, the risk of what took place in 2013 could have been greatly reduced.

“The panel was satisfied that Ms Barton's failures were not deliberate and that, at all times, she had endeavoured to protect the interests of children under her charge and to address the issues with which she was confronted.

“It was the panel's opinion, after extensive deliberation, that Ms Barton had made serious errors of judgement and that, unfortunately, there had been consequences which had flowed from those errors.

“The panel was satisfied that Ms Barton had shown a proper level of insight and had also shown genuine remorse.”

It was agreed that it would be inappropriate for Barton to be involved in the future in a leadership role in the area of child protection and safeguarding.

The panel concluded that there was no need to pass prohibition orders in either case meaning they can both return to teaching with immediate effect.