A drama teacher who had sex with a pupil in her car and took her to see a West End show has been banned from the classroom for five years.
Sarah Barton admitted being in a “sexually-motivated relationship” with the unnamed girl at a school in Essex, with a disciplinary panel finding she had “consistently and persistently failed to maintain appropriate boundaries”.
The panel heard how the 36-year-old had showed a photo of her kissing the student to an unnamed friend, while another witness said Barton had admitted to having sex with the pupil in a car, the Press Association reported.
The teacher, who worked at the school from September 2007 to July 2016 and was head of department for drama and dance when she resigned, also took the pupil to see Matilda in London during a half-term holiday, despite being advised not to go.
The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) panel heard that Barton had taught the girl during the 2015/16 academic year and “a friendship developed between the two of them that culminated in a sexual relationship”.
While Barton claimed that the West End trip was arranged by the student - referred to as Pupil A - 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.”