January 2019

Derbyshire music teacher, 34, slapped with classroom ban after sex acts with teenage pupils

A Derbyshire music teacher has been banned from the classroom after seducing and engaging in sex acts with two teenage pupils who sang in the school choir she led.

34-year-old Laurie Softley, of Derby who taught at Ecclesbourne School in Duffield, was struck off from teaching indefinitely after a drunken tryst with a school chorister in 2013 – five years after sleeping with another pupil in 2008.

The Teaching Regulation Agency, sitting in Coventry, said Ms Softley, who was not present at the hearing, had brought the profession ‘into disrepute’.

Both of the students, referred to as Pupil A and Pupil B, were 17-years-old at the time of the incidents.

A panel heard that Ms Softley, who was married, had been allowed to keep teaching at Ecclesbourne for nearly a decade after meeting with Pupil A in a pub and luring him back to her home where they had sexual intercourse.

She admitted to sexual activity with a student following an internal investigation and was served with a final written warning for gross misconduct.

Five years later she plied Pupil B with shots of alcohol before he performed a sex act on her in her home.

Pupil B officially reported what had happened after a counselling session in 2017 and though no criminal prosecution was pursued by police,

Softley resigned after Ecclesbourne School launched another investigation.

A spokesman for The Ecclesbourne School, which is described as being one of the UK’s top state schools, said the decision to allow Ms Softley to continue teaching at the school was taken ‘by a previous headmaster’.

They added:“As soon as allegations surfaced in 2013, we conducted an exhaustive internal inquiry, which included formal interviews with both Ms Softley and the student alleged to have been involved, but we were not presented with sufficient evidence for us conclude that these were anything more than unfounded rumour and gossip.

“As such, our position was that there was no legal basis upon which we could take any disciplinary action. “When we were informed of the police’s investigation into the same allegations last year, we took the instant decision to suspend Ms Softley.”