Derby

Ecclesbourne sex act teacher Laurie Softley banned

Laurie Softley, Derbyshire music teacher Image copyright MySpace
Image caption Laurie Softley had been given a final written warning for gross misconduct by the school in 2008 for her relationship with Pupil A

A teacher who engaged in sex acts with two pupils at her home has been banned from the profession indefinitely.

Laurie Softley, who taught music at Ecclesbourne School in Duffield, Derbyshire, had sex with Pupil A in 2008 after meeting him at a pub.

A panel heard she was allowed to stay at the school for almost a decade, despite admitting sexual activity with the student.

She went on to engage in sex acts with another student, Pupil B, in 2013.

The 34-year-old, who did not attend the hearing, was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

The school said the decision to keep her on in 2008 was made by a previous head teacher.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The 34-year-old worked as a music teacher at the school for 10 years

Ms Softley, who was listed as head of music in the 2017 prospectus, joined the school in 2007.

A Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) report stated she met Pupil A - reported to be 17 at the time - in a pub in March 2008, before taking him home and engaging in sexual intercourse.

In September 2008, she admitted sexual activity with the student following an internal investigation by the school, which issued her with a final written warning for gross misconduct.

Another investigation took place in 2013 after teachers overheard pupils talking about "rumours of an inappropriate relationship" involving Pupil B, who was also reported to be 17 at the time.

'Thorough investigation'

It was closed and no further action was taken after Ms Softley denied the claims and "no directed evidence was unearthed", the report said.

Pupil B officially reported the sexual activity in 2017 and though no criminal prosecution was pursued by police, the school launched a further investigation and Ms Softley resigned.

Handing out an indefinite prohibition order, the panel said her actions "may bring the profession into disrepute".

In a statement, James McNamara, head teacher of Ecclesbourne School, said the decision to allow Ms Softley to remain at the school in 2008 "was taken by the previous head teacher after a thorough investigation", adding the school acted "at the earliest possible opportunity" once further evidence came to light.

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