A boarding school head teacher in Wales has been accused of sending inappropriate messages to pupils as young as 15 asking about their sex lives.
Married Ruthin School teacher Toby Belfield, 47, is alleged to have texted schoolgirls, calling them ‘naughty’ and asking one about pictures of her in a red dress, according to messages obtained by the Times.
He is also said to have referenced breasts, virginity and sexuality, North Wales Live reports.
The messages believed to have been sent by the principal at the £35,000-a-year school also apparently suggested he would visit the girls at university and asked one of them where her ‘love for your principal’ had gone.
Mr Belfield had previously been dubbed Britain’s strictest head teacher after he hit the headlines for threatening them with expulsion if they formed romantic relationships while attending the school.
He later backtracked on the policy that saw him warning pupils he would give them a worse reference for university if they got a boyfriend or girlfriend while attending Ruthin.
A inspection report this week criticised the top private school in Denbighshire founded in 1284, blasting it as ‘inadequate,’ and describing the pupils as ‘at risk of harm’ due to its poor leadership and safeguarding processes.
The text messages were unearthed separately by the Times newspaper following the report’s publication just days ago.
In the messages seen by the newspaper, Mr Belfield allegedly tells one girl: “Imagine if I found your new tattoo- I’d have to expel you.”
Another message says: “I’m not your principal any more so when we meet in Moscow you’re a free lady.”
Other text messages reportedly sent by Mr Belfield included one calling a pupil a “naughty girl”, and another complaining “where is your love for your principal” accompanied by broken heart emojis.
In another series of messages to a female pupil, he complains he hasn’t seen any pictures of her in her “lovely red dress” and follows up telling her she looked “stunning as always.”
Sources told the newspaper the texts were to six girls, had been circulated in the north Wales community and had been passed to authorities.
A damning CIW report, published earlier this week, found pupils were “at risk of harm” amid a senior management culture that was both “controlling” and “autocratic.”
In another exchange, Mr Belfield is accused of telling a pupil the boarding school’s staff had been warned was a ‘”potential sexual threat to young boys.”
The principal is also said to have bragged on social media about taking first-class and staying in five-star hotels on global recruitment drives to recruit pupils, who hail from countries including China, India and Nigeria.
Teachers told the Times he had not been at the school since the end of last term.
An insider told the newspaper a safeguarding concern had been raised with the school regarding the inappropriate messages allegedly sent by Mr Belfield.
They said he had been suspended during a previous investigation then returned to the school.
The school’s official website gives no indication of Mr Belfield’s whereabouts, and still prominently displays a welcome message from the principal on its site.
“School can be and should be a happy place,” it says.
The damning Care Inspectorate Wales report this week described the school’s leadership under Mr Belfield as ‘controlling’ and ‘autocratic’ and noted low morale among staff.
School policies were found to clash with equalities law, including one that said no boarder with medicated mental health issues would be allowed at the school.
Any boarder who was diagnosed with mental health issues while attending the school would be ‘sent home to their parents’, Ruthin’s policy said.
Mr Belfield had another brush with controversy in 2015 when he claimed pupils who had the Welsh language ‘forced on them’ would become ‘educationally’ weaker than their English counterparts.
North Wales Live reports the Cambridge maths graduate had too many boarders on the roll in 2017, and began looking for ways to reduce numbers.
He told pupils he would kick them out after “carefully examining” their behaviour,” and wouldn’t tolerate girls who “look like they are going to a nightclub”, “pathetic” students pretending to be ill, or anyone who smoked or drank alcohol – even if of age.
He subsequently solved the issue by housing the extra pupils in portable cabins.
The Mirror Online has contacted Mr Belfield.
The school was unable to provide comment.
The Care Inspectorate Wales has also been contacted.