Ban for 'overly familiar' teacher

23rd July 2010 at 01:00
She wanted `permanent' involvement with sixth-former once he left school, GTC hears

A married teacher who planned a relationship with one of her pupils and behaved "inappropriately" with others has been banned from the profession for a year.

Alexis Bailey gave students lifts home, chatted to them on the internet, met them outside of school and offered them her personal mobile phone number.

Mrs Bailey did not have a physical relationship with any of her pupils, but the General Teaching Council for England (GTC) heard that she became "emotionally" involved with a pupil and wanted a permanent relationship with him when he left school.

The teacher, who worked at Thurston Community College in Suffolk, attributed her behaviour to trouble in her marriage at the time and said she was depressed. She had previously been warned about being "overly familiar" with students by her line manager.

Her relationship with the sixth-form student lasted from April to June 2008. His parents said it had an "adverse" effect on him.

Mrs Bailey met students socially, accepted them as friends on her Facebook page, told them about her private life, gave them her address, talked to them in internet chatrooms about matters unrelated to school, and sent pupils texts.

She was also found guilty of not caring properly for a "particularly vulnerable" Year 10 pupil.

"Mrs Bailey over a period of time failed to observe the professional distance that should have attended her relationships with students and particularly pupil A," said GTC panel chair Zubair Khan.

"She failed to consider the effect of her relationships on the well-being and development of the students for whom she carried responsibilities.

"There is evidence from the parents of pupil A of the adverse impact her relationship had on this particular student.

"We consider that her over-familiarity with students has damaged the reputation and public confidence in the profession.

"The feature of this case which causes us most concern is the over- familiar nature of Mrs Bailey's relationships with students, particularly pupil A, and her failure to appreciate that the way she behaved towards her students was inappropriate."

The panel gave Mrs Bailey "credit" for "candidly admitting her failings" and "accepting responsibility for her actions".

"We understand that these proceedings will have had a profound effect on her," Mr Khan said.

"However, this is a serious case of totally inappropriate conduct and we are concerned that there is no evidence which leads us to conclude that Mrs Bailey even now shows real insight into the impact of her conduct on the pupils for whom she was responsible."

The panel suspended the teacher because she is "unlikely" to behave in the same way in the future.

"We do not believe that the evidence in this case demonstrates that Mrs Bailey is fundamentally incompatible with being a teacher, nor do we think that she has any deep-seated attitudinal problems," Mr Khan said.

The subject of inappropriate relationships with students has often seen the GTC's toughest sentences for teachers.

Stephen Carr, who taught at a Newcastle school that cannot be named, had an "inappropriate relationship" with an A-level pupil, sending her texts and going on holiday with her. He was banned from teaching for life last year.

Laura Tierney was reprimanded in 2005 after subjecting a class to a foul- mouthed rant when she thought staff were spreading rumours about her dating a Year 10 boy. During the rant, in which she denied the rumours, Ms Tierney, who worked in North Tyneside, used the word "fuck" repeatedly, called one teacher a "fat Scottish bitch" and made disparaging remarks about another teacher's dress sense.

Original headline: Ban for `overly familiar' teacher who sought relationship with pupil

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