Blurred boundaries for teachers | Education | The Guardian
the teacher who had a sexual relationship with a pupil, Jon Henley mobile phone footage of him doing the funky chicken for a sixth-form. Student-teacher relationships: Don't stand so close to me . He says affairs between teachers and sixth-formers could be "educative on both. She said: "If a teacher has a relationship with a pupil at the school at which they teach, it could be an year-old pupil in sixth form, then that.
All quite innocent, you know, but very, very personal. The girls were all wildly apologetic afterwards, but I'm not at all sure they thought they'd really done anything wrong.
It was a lesson to me, though. I'm very, very careful what I say and do now. In the event, nothing was ever said, but it made me think. We're in a different situation these days. Last week, it was the turn of Christopher Reen, a classroom supervisor who became the fifth member of staff in three years at his school to face criminal charges over a sexual relationship with a pupil.
In both cases, mobile phone text messages — allegedly, in the case of Reen and a year-old pupil at Headlands school in Bridlington, Yorkshire, more than of them — were submitted in court as evidence of the offence.
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But behind these headline-grabbing scandals lies a more mundane reality for teachers today, which, while it cannot excuse such incidents, may perhaps go part of the way to explaining them: Once upon a time, teachers simply did not exist outside school. There was a fixed distance; a clear definition of roles; lines that should not and, more often than not, could not be crossed. Now, contact outside the classroom is not only easier but, in many schools, actively encouraged — school web portals on which teachers and students can upload and download assignments, email each other questions and answers, post announcements and sometimes even chat in real time, are increasingly becoming the norm.
That fixed distance is shortening; those old boundaries — between professional and private, home and school, formal and informal — are blurring. It has been illegal in Britain since for a teacher to engage in sexual activity with any pupil at their school under the age of But despite a recent YouGov survey of 2, adults claiming that one in six people know someone who had an "intimate relationship" with a teacher while at school, teachers stress that the number of cases that ever go as far as court is tiny, and the number that end up in a conviction tinier still.
The NASUWT says it deals with about allegations of misconduct against its members each year, but only five or six involving inappropriate sexual contact most concern alleged physical abuse.
As obviously inexcusable as they are, however, some teachers feel the intense media and public focus on a small number of high-profile cases such as those of Goddard and Reen — or, to take two more, Jenine Saville-King, a Watford teaching assistant cleared two years ago of sexual activity after exchanging pages of MSN messages in three months and text messages in four days with a year-old pupil, and Madeleine Martin, a religious education teacher from Manchester, who this month admitted an eight-day affair with a year-old boy from her school whom she first arranged to meet on Facebook — may be missing a much broader point.
That's always happened, and I imagine it always will.
BBC NEWS | UK | Education | Sex laws are 'unfair to teachers'
Electronic media certainly gives greater access. But while it may also give the illusion of creating a private space, it's also written evidence.
- I know a teacher is having an affair with a sixth form student. What should I do?
- Blurred boundaries for teachers
- 'I wish someone had told me the relationship with my teacher was not my fault'
There is definitely an issue here, though. Electronic communication is different. And while schools are creating web portals and actively encouraging online contact between staff and pupils, there are all sorts of guidelines warning us never ever to use Facebook with students, or to give out our personal mobile phone numbers or email addresses.
The trouble is, it's very easy for the lines to get blurred. Public and private space get muddied.
Of course, 18 year olds can still be at school which raises the issue of whether that protection should extend beyond the age of Where a student has a September birthday and so is aged 18 for most of their final year of school they are afforded less protection than a student with an August birthday who will have left school before turning The behaviour The offences are concerned with a range of behaviour, not just intercourse.
Upon a conviction for one of these offences, an offender will be subject to the notification requirements under the Act and is liable to disqualification from working with children. There can be no confusion that Parliament views this behaviour as extremely serious. The protection Sex crimes are there to protect children and young adults from themselves and others.
However immature the teacher may be, it is his responsibility not to go about having sex however much he may fancy her or fancy to have sex with her. It really is all so banal. Sophie didn't achieve anything like the grades she had been predicted but still got into university. Then he rekindled the relationship. When it ended a second time, she fell apart, dropping out of university and into a life of chaos and self-destruction.
All these years later, he still deserves to be punished for what he did, doesn't he? Is it my responsibility to try to protect the girls at the school he's now teaching at? Prior to that act, the age of consent — 16 — was the only issue. Teaching unions claim pupil-teacher affairs are "very rare". Between andteachers were prosecuted for relationships with pupils, according to reports.
One school has dealt with no fewer than five incidents. When, inChristopher Reen, 31, a classroom supervisor at Headlands school in Bridlington, was jailed for three years and four months after admitting six counts of sexual activity with a year-old female pupil, it emerged that four former staff at the same school had faced the courts in recent years over inappropriate sexual conduct. There has never been a prosecution.
She has, however, fought for years to get him struck off the teachers' register — something she finally achieved in August this year. The relationship became nasty, violent, obsessive and physically and sexually abusive.
It took just one conversation for them to make her realise she had been manipulated and abused.
No one from these organisations contacted me. I was a mess and couldn't go through with prosecution, but I always stuck to my story.
They all knew what the allegations were, but none of them did anything to investigate. Everything was brushed under the carpet.
The teacher moved and continued teaching in a different part of Scotland.
I know a teacher is having an affair with a sixth form student. What should I do? | TES Community
The police investigated for more than a year and ultimately charged the teacher with, she thinks, rape and assault. Nevertheless, the teacher was suspended by the council in April and finally struck off the teaching register last month.
I see how he manipulated my year-old self and I realise how someone of my age would know, absolutely, that it was completely wrong and inappropriate to get into a relationship with someone of that age.