Ex-teacher banned for life after sexual relationship with sixth-form pupil

An entrance to Queen Ethelburgas. Pic: Google.
An entrance to Queen Ethelburgas. Pic: Google.

A former teacher of economics has been banned from the profession after having a sexual relationship with a York sixth form pupil more than 10 years ago.

Dr Howard Britton, who taught at Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate between September 2001 and August 2005, was found by a professional conduct panel to have exchanged flirtatious and/or sexual text messages initiated by a teenager named only as Pupil A between January and June 2005.

They then embarked upon a sexual relationship for around four weeks from June that year after she had completed her exams, according to a report published today.

Inappropriate contact began during one-to-one coaching sessions, it states.

Following a hearing, the report reads that Dr Britton, now 64, “maintained that Pupil A was a sexually active 18 year old at the time of the sexual activity and that she had actively pursued him.

"Dr Britton failed to understand that the relationship between them was not one of equals and that he abused his position of trust by entering into flirtatious text messages with Pupil A whilst still a pupil at the school, and ultimately by having sexual intercourse with her shortly after her final exam at the school.”

He admitted accepting the pupil’s phone number, exchanging the texts, discussing meeting her outside school, inviting her to his home, touching her legs, allowing her to touch his, and during June and/or July, 2005, having sex with her.

But he had denied holding hands with her during a one-to-one session and that his actions were sexually motivated.

The panel found these proven on the balance of probabilities and did not accept evidence that “the only motivation for these actions was to frighten Pupil A off as he felt trapped in the situation”.

Pupil A gave evidence that “she believed she was deeply in love with Dr Britton” and thought they had a future together.

He left teaching afterwards "due to his disgust with his own behaviour in having a sexual relationship" with the pupil.

The panel, led by the National College for teaching and Leadership in December, recommended to the Secretary of State that Dr Britton should be the subject of a prohibition order.

He is indefinitely banned from teaching in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.