A TEACHER has appeared in court charged with a string of historic sexual offences.

The headteacher of St Clere’s School in Butts Lane, Stanford-le-Hope has written to parents after Colin Yeomans denied 16 separate child sexual offences.

The 46-year-old, of Priory Lane, Great Notley, appeared at Basildon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday charged with three counts of indecent assault on a girl under the age of 16.

He is also facing eight counts of abusing a position of trust and engaging in sexual activity, two counts of abusing a position of trust to cause or incite sexual activity with a child and three counts of abusing a position of trust to have sexual intercourse.

The alleged offences are said to have taken place more than a decade ago. Yeomans denied all charges and will appear at Basildon Crown Court in July.

St Clere’s headteacher, Ashlie Hughes, wrote to parents on Friday and said: “I am writing to notify you that a member of staff employed at St Clere’s School has been charged with an historic allegation.

“As this will be going to trial in July 2019, I would like to inform you, directly of the school’s position.

“Mr C Yeomans was suspended last year, when historic allegations came to light and we have co-operated fully with the police investigation.

“We take safeguarding extremely seriously at St Clere’s and have robust policies and procedures in place at the school. “Given there are active legal proceedings, it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this stage.

“We value our strong relationships with out parents and, after consultation with Governors and The Osbourne Trust, we feel it is only right that you hear this information from us, in the first instance.

“This will help you prepare for coming weeks when it is likely to go to press.

“Staff have been informed of the above and have been instructed not to be drawn into any informal conversations about this matter.

“I will be addressing children in the school next week with the same information and stress that we have no further details than those above.”