Teacher suspended over 'romantic' emails to pupil

A MALE teacher who bombarded a pupil at a respected Yorkshire girls' school with romantic emails and texts has been suspended from teaching for two years.

Darren Holmes developed an "intense and romantic relationship" with the girl, the professional conduct committee of the General Teaching Council was told.

For more than a month Holmes, a teacher at Sheffield's 9,500 a year Sheffield High School, carried on the contact with a girl referred to as Pupil A between September and October 2008.

The committee found him guilty of "unacceptable professional conduct" and found that he "behaved inappropriately with a pupil by engaging in personal and unprofessional correspondence by email and text messages."

Committee chair Andrew Connell said: "We have concluded from the evidence that Mr Holmes formed an intense and romantic relationship with pupil A.

"This was facilitated and promoted by email and mobile text messages. The communications were highly inappropriate but there is no evidence of any meetings out of school or sexual activity.

"We were very concerned about the nature of the contact between Mr Holmes and Pupil A an consider it fortunate for all concerned these matters came to light within a few weeks, following which Mr Holmes resigned."

Mr Connell said the conduct, which Holmes admitted, fell short of the standard expected of a registered teacher, was a serious breach of the code of conduct and practice for registered teachers, and was behaviour which involved a breach of the standards of propriety expected of the profession.

In mitigation, the committee took into account that Mr Holmes had shown remorse and insight into his behaviour.

A spokeswoman for Sheffield High School said yesterday: "Mr Holmes left over two years ago. In order to protect the privacy of the student involved we do not think it appropriate to comment on the details.

"We take the safety and wellbeing of our pupils very seriously, and have robust and well-established safeguarding policies and procedures."