23/09/2010 08:07 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Woman Teacher Charged With Sex Offences Against Two Pupils

A female teacher at an all-boys school in Merseyside has been charged with sexual misconduct against two pupils.

Hina Patel, 37, was working as a supply teacher when she allegedly engaged two boys, both aged 16, in sexual acts while at Birkdale High School.

She was immediately suspended after the allegations emerged earlier this year, and yesterday was charged on two counts of abusing her position of trust by sexual activity with a child.

Miss Patel, who had been at the school since September, was believed to be a wellbeing officer for junior pupils, and also helped prepare the school magazine.

The alleged activities are thought to have taken place over a period of several months.

Although the boys are thought to have been above the age of consent, it is a criminal offence for a person 'to engage in any sexual activity with a person aged under 18 with whom they have a relationship of trust, irrespective of the age of consent, even if the basis for their relationship is consensual.'

Last night parents spoke of their shock at the allegations. One mum told the Daily Mail: 'I am absolutely speechless. With physical sports of all kinds there are all sorts of things a parent can worry about, but this is one of the last things you'd expect.'

Birkdale High School's headteacher Gary Loveridge said the school was continuing to fully cooperate with police.