A drama teacher has been banned from the classroom after having sex with a pupil in her car and taking her to see a West End musical.
Sarah Barton admitted being in a “sexually-motivated relationship” with the unnamed girl pupil at the school in Essex, and “consistently and persistently failed to maintain appropriate boundaries”, a National College for Teaching and Leadership panel said.
Ms Barton, who worked at the school from September 2007 to July 2016 and was head of department for drama and dance when she resigned, took the student to see Matilda in London during a half-term holiday, despite being advised not to go.
The NCTL panel heard Ms Barton taught the pupil – who is referred to in a report as Pupil A – during the 2015-16 academic year and “a friendship developed between the two of them that culminated in a sexual relationship”.
The 36-year-old showed a photograph to an unnamed witness of her kissing the pupil, while another witness said Ms Barton admitted having sex with the pupil in her car.
Ms Barton said in her statement to the panel that the West End trip was arranged by Pupil A, but the report said: “Regardless of who actually organised this trip, it took place in June 2016 when your relationship with Pupil A had been developing for some time.
“This was clearly inappropriate.”
The panel accepted her actions were “out of character” and arose from “extreme personal circumstances” – and noted she was considered to be an “exceptionally well-respected member of staff”.
She was handed a prohibition order following the hearing in Coventry and will only be allowed to have the ban removed by 2022 at the earliest.
Alan Meyrick of the Department of Education, said: “There were numerous opportunities for the relationship to be terminated by her.
“This was a sexually-motivated relationship that continued despite warnings from her colleagues.
“It was not a one-off spontaneous event.” (The Independent)