A teacher who communicated with a pupil through using inappropriate coded email messages and private notes on the music platform Soundcloud has been banned from the profession.
Alexander Day, 29, was in his first year of teaching English and psychology at the independent Nottingham High School for Girls when he sent a “vast number” of emails to the pupil of a personal nature.
The emails, which were sent late at night and on weekends, created “an intellectual intimacy…through the use of 'coded talk' by reference to topics such as books, music (such as many references to song lyrics) and films,” a Teaching Regulations Agency professional standards panel found.
It decided that Mr Day’s conduct towards the pupil was “sexually motivated,” and whilst the emails were not of an overtly sexual nature, the “volume, content and intensity of the emails demonstrated an intention to progress towards a sexual relationship”.
In one email to the 18-year-old pupil, referred to as “Pupil X,” Mr Day wrote: “One of the key impediments to full expression is the worry that the person to whom you disclose deeper feelings won’t understand them or understand you, but when you meet somebody that you are so akin to, somebody whose inner working are similar to yours, that worry goes away.”
The panel was told that Mr Day had also communicated with the pupil over Soundcloud, where he was said to have composed a song for her, Longing.
Mr Day was found to have met the pupil outside school on a number of occasions, arranging to meet her in the cinema and at the theatre, through what the pupil described as "coded talk" in emails. In her witness statement, the pupil also said she had met Mr Day in several bars in Nottingham.
The school began an investigation in May 2018, after a photograph of the pair on a bus was posted on social media.
The pupil had told friends she had engaged in sexual activity with Mr Day, which he denied. The panel did not find this allegation to be proven.
The panel found that, as the emails were exchanged over the school’s network, the inappropriate relationship had developed in an education setting, and Mr Day’s conduct had therefore affected the way he fulfilled his teaching role.
While Mr Day, who was not present at the hearing, had acknowledged in writing “that the conduct of the nature described in the allegations could be perceived as inappropriate”, the panel found that this indicated “a lack of insight and remorse”.
Dawn Dandy, acting on behalf of the secretary of state, concluded that Mr Day had been responsible for “serious sexual misconduct” and prohibited him from teaching indefinitely until 19 July 2024. On this date, Mr Day will be able to apply for the order to be removed.