A teacher at a leading fee-paying independent school in North Yorkshire has been struck off after having sex with a sixth form student.
Dr Howard Britton, a former economics teacher at Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate, was found by a professional conduct panel to have engaged in a sexual relationship with a student, named only as Pupil A, between January and June 2005.
The National College for Teaching and Leadership panel was told the relationship began after Dr Britton, now 64, began exchanging flirtatious text messages with the pupil.
The school, at Thorpe Underwood near Linton-on-Ouse, was recently named as the top independent school in Yorkshire in The Sunday Times School Guide 2018 and nationally was ranked 31st.
The panel heard that Dr Britton, who taught at the school between September 2001 and August 2005, accepted the pupil’s phone number and exchanged flirtatious and sexual text messages during the academic year.
He also discussed meeting his student outside of school, held hands with her under a desk while in a classroom together and invited her to his home.
On the day of her final school examination he kissed the then 18-year-old at his house.
After the girl left school, they had sex on at least three occasions.
Dr Britton told the hearing he had first replied to her text messages “in order to frighten her off” as he believed she was pursuing a campaign of sexual harassment against him.
He also indicated throughout the hearing he was acting under duress as he felt trapped by Pupil A’s actions – but the panel did not accept this explanation.
Dr Britton stopped teaching after the relationship ended due to his “disgust” at his behaviour, the panel heard.
He told the hearing Pupil A had left the school by the time they became sexually intimate.
However, the panel found the relationship had escalated while she was still a student.
Dr Britton admitted the majority of the allegations – but insisted his communication with the girl had not been “sexually motivated”.
He has now been banned indefinitely from the classroom.
The National College for Teaching and Leadership panel heard other students would be at “some risk of the repetition of this behaviour”.
The panel said: “Dr Britton failed to understand the relationship between them was not one of equals and he abused his position of trust by entering into flirtatious text messages with Pupil A while still a pupil at the school, and ultimately by having sexual intercourse with her shortly after her final exam at the school.”