Essex

Essex drama teacher banned over sexual relationship with pupil

A drama teacher who took one of her pupils to see a West End show and later had sex with the girl in her car has been banned from working in the profession for five years.

Sarah Barton, 36, admitted having a relationship with a pupil at the Essex school she worked at until 2016.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership heard she had showed someone a photo of her kissing the girl.

The panel found she fell short of the standards expected of her profession.

Mrs Barton, who had worked at the school - which was not named in the panel's report - since 2007 and was head of dance and drama there, met the girl in the academic year 2015/16.

The pair's friendship eventually "culminated in a sexual relationship", the misconduct panel heard.

They would meet in the school office or in "numerous public places", and went to see the musical Matilda together during half term in June 2016.

'Significant trauma'

Mrs Barton admitted she had failed to maintain boundaries and had abused her position of trust by having a "sexually motivated" inappropriate relationship with the pupil.

The panel said Mrs Barton was "dedicated to her career and to ensuring that the pupils at her school received the best education available", and described her as "an asset to the profession".

A colleague said she was an "exceptionally well respected member of staff". The male co-worker said he would be happy for Mrs Barton to teach his daughter, in spite of knowing what she had done.

Mrs Barton had experienced "significant trauma" a few months before the relationship started, the panel heard.

On behalf of the secretary of state, Alan Meyrick said he believed a ban from teaching - which would be reviewed after five years - was "proportionate and in the public interest".

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