Teacher’s career in ruins after he spent night in hotel with student

A TEACHER’S career is in ruins after he was banned from the profession for spending a night in a hotel room with a pupil.

Christopher Houghton, who worked at St Bede’s Catholic School and Sixth Form College in Lanchester, County Durham, also exchanged text messages with the girl.

The 41-year-old admitted unacceptable professional conduct and/or conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute to a panel of the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

At first he said the overnight hotel stay, last January, was “spontaneous” and was in response to fears there was an immediate risk to the girl’s life.

But an investigation found the room had been booked seven days previously.

Houghton, who joined as a business studies teacher, accepted his actions were “sexually motivated”.

The investigation found he had been in contact with the girl, referred to as Pupil A, via text messages sent and received on his personal mobile phone since about October 2016.

The panel heard the school’s headteacher was concerned about his relationship with the girl and had given Houghton written warnings in March 2016 and December 2016.

Two management advice letters “reminded him of the proper professional boundaries that should be maintained”.

The school’s investigation found the teacher “repeatedly concealed inappropriate contact with Pupil A”.

The panel said there was evidence of “serious dishonesty and serious sexual misconduct” and added Houghton “showed a lack of insight into his action”.

The panel found there also was a “continuing risk this behaviour could be repeated”.

Alan Meyrick, deputy director of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, said: “The findings of misconduct are particularly serious as they include both a finding of serious dishonesty and a finding of sexual activity.”

After deciding to ban Houghton for life, Mr Meyrick said: “I consider therefore that allowing for no review period is necessary to satisfy the maintenance of public confidence in the profession.”

Houghton can appeal the decision at the High Court.