A former infant school headteacher who made indecent images of children before sharing them with other men has been jailed for 30 months.
Daniel Chapman, 31, portrayed himself as the "safeguarding champion" of a school while secretly gratifying himself with the cruel sexual exploitation of children as young as four, Essex Police said.
He was suspended and ultimately sacked from his role at Hilltop Infant School in Wickford, Essex, following his arrest in May.
Chapman has now been sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court after admitting 12 offences including making indecent photographs of children, publishing obscene articles, and possessing extreme pornographic images, the force added.
Detective Constable Nick Riley said the six-month investigation "involved some of the most horrific social media messaging concerning child abuse that I had ever investigated”.
He said: "Daniel Chapman had taken it upon himself to become a safeguarding champion for the school, whilst he was simultaneously involved in activities which promoted the abuse of children, some of whom were of a similar age to those he was meant to be safeguarding.
"He portrayed himself as a respectable head teacher, however, was found to have been using messaging applications and social media to engage in making, possessing and publishing indecent images of children as young as four.
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"I am delighted this individual is now paying the price for his appalling actions.
"Every time an indecent image of a child is viewed, it re-victimises that child over and over again.”
Chapman, of Meadgate Avenue, Chelmsford, was also put on the sex offender's register for 10 years, given a decade-long sexual harm prevention order, and banned from teaching for life.
None of the children at his school were involved.