Teacher failed to report husband's affair with teenager

Wife of teacher who had sexual affair with pupil escapes ban after failing to follow safeguarding procedure

Amy Gibbons

Teacher writing on blackboard

A teacher who stayed silent after discovering her husband was having an affair with a 17-year-old girl he was tutoring has been spared a ban from the profession.

Jane Schalch, who was teaching at an independent school in the West Midlands at the time the affair took place, failed to take appropriate action when she became aware that her husband, a teacher at another school in the same foundation, was having a sexual relationship with the teenager who was a pupil at a third school in the foundation.

professional conduct panel of the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) heard that, in November 2015, Mrs Schalch found out that her husband, Mr Schalch, was having an affair with a girl who he had been tutoring on a private basis.

Mrs Schalch made the discovery when she arrived home to find the girl in her underwear in the couple's guest bedroom.

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Mr Schalch admitted to his wife that the relationship had been going on since September/October 2015, but said the girl was 18. He also said that the teenager's mother was aware of the affair.

In March 2016, the father of a pupil at the teenager's school emailed the former headteacher of the school where Mr Schalch taught. He had heard of the affair from his daughter, who had spoken with the pupil about the situation.

Later that month, Mr Schalch was arrested "on suspicion of having a sexual relationship with [the girl] which constituted an abuse of a position of trust". It then transpired that she had been some days away from her 18th birthday at the time the affair was discovered.

On the same day as the arrest, Mrs Schalch was granted compassionate leave and asked not to attend her school.

She was suspended in June 2017, and dismissed from her role in February 2018. She appealed the decision but left a month later.

Mrs Schalch admitted to the TRA that she failed to report her husband's affair or take any further steps to safeguard the teenager concerned.

The panel found that her actions, or lack thereof, amounted to "serious gross misconduct".

The report said: "In the light of the panel’s findings, the panel accepted that Mrs Schalch had been the victim of appalling and invidious circumstances.

"The panel considered that Mrs Schalch had demonstrated insight and remorse for failing to report her husband’s affair with Pupil A to the school and/or local authority.

"During her oral testimony, the panel questioned Mrs Schalch as to what she would do if she were to discover that her husband was having an affair with another pupil or working with children in any context, to which Mrs Schalch replied: 'I would report it immediately…even if it ended my marriage'.

"The panel considered this testimony to be compelling."

A witness also told the panel that it would be a "true travesty" to see such a "high quality, talented, caring, knowledgeable practitioner" forced to leave the profession.

Mrs Schalch was spared a ban "in light of the mitigating factors".

The panel's decision was upheld by the decision-maker Alan Meyrick on behalf of the secretary of state.

Mr Schalch was cleared of criminal wrongdoing at Warwick Crown Court in November 2017.

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Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @tweetsbyames

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