A TEACHER used a school computer to pose as an ex-pupil to gain access to teenage chat rooms where he exchanged sexual messages.

Ciaran Bird was banned from teaching after a panel from the Department for Education found him guilty of bringing the profession into disrepute.

While employed at a school in East Sussex, on January 28 last year, he used a computer to access an internet chat room during lesson time.

He then used a photograph of a 15-year-old girl to falsely represent himself and engaged in several conversations described as “inappropriate and sexually explicit”.

It is not clear what school he was at in January 2014 although he had previously been at Ratton School in Eastbourne.

Although Bird admitted his actions, he said they were not sexually motivated.

The panel concluded his actions were of a sexual nature but were not a form of sexual gratification.

In an account of his motivations, he explained his actions were “attention seeking” and an attempt to fill a “void” in his life.

He referred to difficulties at the time including the closing down of a football club he was involved in and strained family relationships.

He also said he had given up working in theatres, leaving him without a creative outlet.

Bird asked people on the site what they looked liked and exchanged “grossly” inappropriate messages, the panel said.

He also made explicit references to unprotected sex while posing as a 15-year-old girl.

Worried parents contacted The Argus and said their children had been taught by Bird at Ratton School in Eastbourne.

A school spokesman said: “We can confirm Ciaran Bird does not work at Ratton School and left in July 2011 for a new teaching post.

“Any action taken by the Department of Education does not relate to his time at Ratton.”

The panel’s findings were passed to the Secretary of State and a decision maker on her behalf, Paul Heathcote, said: “There is evidence of Mr Bird being an effective teacher and he has a previous history.

“Notwithstanding his record as a teacher and the steps taken to remediate his behaviours, Mr Bird’s actions appear to have been deliberate, calculated and motivated.

“This means that Ciaran Bird is prohibited from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.”