Former teacher faces trial accused of historic abuse at Tonbridge School

The team from Corker Outdoor, Award sponsor Jason Varney (Thomson, Snell & Passmore) & Eamonn Holmes
Tonbridge School and (inset) Russell Tillson

Russell Tillson, who is a Conservative councillor for New Romney Town Council, has been charged with five counts of indecent assault on boys at the £45,000-a-year Tonbridge School between 1984 and 2001.

At Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court last week, prosecutors said the 71-year-old was a teacher at the school, where he was regarded as the ‘gatekeeper for pupils regarding their applications to Oxford and Cambridge universities’.

He pleaded not guilty to all five charges and was released on unconditional bail, to appear at Maidstone Crown Court on April 19.

As well as holding a seat on New Romney Town Council, the councillor is also a representative on St Mary in the Marsh Parish Council and previously served as the Deputy Leader of what is now Folkestone & Hythe District Council.

Cllr Tillson is also the former Chairman of the Folkestone & Hythe Conservative Association.

Tonbridge School said they were unable to comment on the ongoing court case.


Southborough PE teacher struck off

The former head of PE at a school in Southborough has been banned from the classroom following a conviction for assault.

In a report published by the Teaching Regulation Agency last week, it was said that 57-year-old Paul Stead had worked at Meadows School in Southborough since 2004.

He was sentenced with a community order and a restraining order at Mid Kent Magistrates’ Court in July 2019 following a charge of assault occasioning bodily harm connected with an assault that occurred earlier in the year, but not at an educational establishment.

The panel said the offence ‘resulted in harm to a person’ and that ‘the panel considered that Mr Stead’s behaviour in committing the offence would be likely to affect public confidence in the teaching profession, if Mr Stead was allowed to continue teaching’.

The panel banned Stead from the classroom indefinitely but said he will be allowed to apply for the ‘prohibition order’ to be removed in five years’ time.

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