14/08/2014 16:57 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Nearly 1,000 Teachers Accused Of Sexual Relationships With Pupils

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Teacher and students in classroom

Shocking figures released today reveal that 1,000 teachers have been accused of having a sexual relationship with a pupil during the past five years.

A total of 959 had been suspended, disciplined or dismissed as a result of an allegation they had a sexual relationship with a student. Of the 959 cases, 254 led to a police charge.

It's a huge and shocking number, but to put it into perspective, there are around 440,00 teachers working in the State system, and a leading teachers' union claimed that many of the allegations were malicious.

The figures emerged after BBC Radio One's Newsbeat programme put in Freedom of Information request to more than 200 local authorities. A total of 42 councils failed to comply with the request.

Describing one relationship, a 15-year-old girl called Ella told Newsbeat: "I had a crush on this guy and so I was flattered by the attention."

She said he had kissed her in a classroom and they began to meet outside of school

"Very quickly it progressed from a kiss to him wanting more," she said.

She added that he forced her to have sex by saying it was how adults proved they loved each other. He is now serving a 12-year prison sentence.

However, Dave, a teacher falsely accused of groping a number of girls, said the school had tried to protect its reputation by suspending him before completing its investigation - with the result his career was damaged and he suffered mental health problems.

A charity which deals with child abuse said it was not surprised by the figures but teachers' union leaders said many of the allegations were likely to be malicious.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, added: "There can be misunderstandings and malicious allegations are made so it is critical investigations are carried out quickly with due process."

Donald Findlater, a child abuse expert with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, agreed false claims could ruin careers but said research from the Department for education showed only two per cent of claims were malicious.