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21 June 2016, 11:36
A former teacher from Essex has been charged with child sex offences.
44 year-old Colin Bell, from Rebels Lane in Great Wakering, was a teacher at Westcliff High School for Girls up until his arrest in August 2015.
Essex Police said: "He has been charged with four counts of sexual touching of a girl aged under 18, two counts of making indecent images of children, one count of possession of extreme pornographic images and one count of possession of prohibited images of children.
"The 'making indecent images of children' related to images downloaded from the internet, and the 'possession of prohibited images of children' related to non-photographic images
"He has been given conditional bail to appear at Southend Magistrates' Court on July 29".
Dr Paul Hayman, Headteacher of Westcliff High School for Girls, said: "As soon as the school was made aware of the arrest, Mr Bell was immediately suspended and all the relevant safeguarding processes and procedures were followed by the school.
"This immediate action was taken to safeguard pupils, which is clearly of paramount importance to the school and our governing body.
"We have since been working with Essex Police and the council's safeguarding team to assist and support the investigation.
"We understand that this news will be upsetting for pupils and parents and have organised support sessions at the school for anyone affected.
"Essex Police and the Borough Council are also providing necessary support such as social workers and educational psychologists on site today and tomorrow."
Councillor James Courtenay, Executive Councillor for Children and Learning for Southend Borough Council, says: "As with any case like this, we have taken a full and active role throughout the police investigation and have supported the school from a safeguarding perspective since the arrest was made.
"We also have social workers and educational psychologists in attendance today and tomorrow to offer professional support to staff and pupils as required.
"We will continue to support the school, parents and pupils in the coming days and weeks and would encourage anyone who is affected by this news to speak to the police or the school, get in touch with our First Contact Team on 01702 215007 or call the NSPCC Helpline number on 0808 800 500."