Colchester: Teacher banned over inappropriate relationship with pupil

A TEACHER at a Colchester school has been banned from the classroom after engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a student.

English and drama teacher Shannon Miners met a male Year 11 pupil while she was working at The Thomas Lord Audley School. Ms Miners’ name has now been struck off the teaching register indefinitely following a hearing by the professional conduct committee of the General Teaching Council for England.

The committee heard on Friday that Ms Miners’ relationship with the pupil had been “largely conducted over the internet”.

Nasreen Majid, committee chairman, said: “Her emails used inappropriate language, sexual innuendo and were disrespectful to colleagues.”

The school, in Monkwick Avenue, discovered the relationship and Ms Miners was warned by the headteacher to only contact the pupil if it was related to school business and using the school email system.

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“Ms Miners failed to follow that instruction and continued to communicate, inappropriately, with the pupil,” said Ms Majid.

Ms Miners admitted the allegations and accepted that it established unacceptable professional conduct.

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Ms Majid added: “As a general principle, registered teachers must not establish or seek to establish social contact with pupils, children or young people for the purpose of securing a friendship or to pursue or strengthen a relationship.

“That extends to the use of electronic mails and other means of electronic communication.

“Not only did Ms Miners establish such a relationship but she continued to pursue it in the face of unequivocal instructions from her headteacher that she should not.

“In all of the circumstances, the committee finds that Ms Miners’ conduct amounts to unacceptable professional conduct.”

The chairman added: “The committee noted with great concern that she has shown neither insight into nor remorse for her actions and has provided no evidence that she has even the vaguest understanding of the need to maintain the professional boundaries between teachers and pupils.”

Headteacher Jonathan Tippett said: “The school acted swiftly and appropriately when Ms Miners actions came to light and are pleased that the decision taken today by the General Teaching Council reflects the seriousness of the case.

“This was a matter of grave concern and I can assure parents that the school took this matter extremely seriously and that child protection procedures were followed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of pupils.

Ms Miners, who worked at the school from April 2002 to August 2008, has the right of appeal against the disciplinary order made against her. She could not be contacted before going to press.

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