Bristol

Teacher banned for sharing hotel room with pupil

Downend School

A Bristol teacher who shared her hotel room with a pupil after the school prom has been banned from the profession for at least two years.

Rebecca Lacey, 28, taught ICT at Downend School when she committed the "gross error of judgment" in June 2014.

A professional conduct panel was told there was no sexual motivation or sexual activity with the Year 11 pupil.

Miss Lacey said she was deeply sorry but said she had been trying to keep the "vulnerable" boy safe.

She taught at the secondary school between September 2010 and March 2015.

In a written statement to the panel, she said the pupil had been "in a bad state of mind" and was coming under pressure to drink and take drugs after the prom.

"She was worried that if he left the prom event with the pupils who were influencing him that something terrible may have happened to him," the panel's report said.

But the panel found she "failed to maintain proper professional boundaries" and had "engaged in inappropriate behaviour" at the prom - including smoking alone with the boy and allowing a pupil to put their hand around her waist for a photo.

It also found she had "over guided" pupils preparing for an ICT exam - resulting in 50 pupils' coursework being rejected.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership panel found Miss Lacey's actions with the boy "constitute both unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute".

The Department of Education upheld the panel's decision to ban Miss Lacey from teaching for at least two years.

The school said when allegations emerged Miss Lacey had been suspended and "following detailed investigation, resigned her position".

"Miss Lacey's conduct was entirely unacceptable, which is why the school took prompt and robust action to deal with the allegations," its statement said.

"The safety of students at Downend School is of paramount importance to us, and we will continue to do everything we can to provide a safe environment for students at the school."

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