Teacher banned over sexual relationship with former Sheffield school pupil

High Storrs School
High Storrs School
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A teacher who began a relationship with a former pupil in Sheffield has been banned indefinitely from the profession.

James Waiters worked at High Storrs School in Sheffield, where in September 2014 he began to teach the A-level student, then aged 17, a panel from the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) heard.

He was invited to give her private tuition at her home from December that year but says they did not begin a relationship of a sexual nature until August 2015, by which time she had left school and turned 18.

However, when he was questioned by his headteacher in November 2015 he denied being in a relationship with the former pupil.

Mr Waites, now aged 38, was suspended from duty by the school that month, having subsequently confessed to the relationship, and was later dismissed.

A disciplinary panel for the NCTL found he had engaged in an inappropriate relationship and lied to the headteacher about that relationship.

It found him guilty of unacceptable professional misconduct which it said could bring the profession into disrepute, but did not recommend he be banned.

However, he was prohibited from teaching indefinitely, and must wait at least two years before he can apply to have the ban lifted, in a decision made on behalf of the education secretary, with whom the final decision lies.

Mr Waiters maintained that his relationship with the pupil remained strictly professional until she had finished school.

He said there was nothing untoward during the private lessons, during which he claimed her parents were present at all times.

Their relationship only began to take on a sexual nature after she became involved in a soul band gig he was organising and they began spending more time together.

He told how the relationship briefly ceased when the former pupil's parents objected to it in early September 2015 before resuming the following month when they relented and gave their consent, since when it had continued.

Mr Waiters said he regretted lying to the headteacher, having panicked, and had sought to rectify his mistake by quickly arranging another meeting where he told the truth.

The disciplinary panel concluded that the fact the relationship became sexual so soon after the end of the summer term meant it was 'certainly inappropriate'.

It also found that by initially lying to the headteacher he had attempted to cover up his actions as he recognised they were inappropriate or could at least be seen to be so.