Former Nottinghamshire school teacher banned over 'inappropriate' relationship with pupil

A former Nottinghamshire school teacher has been banned for trying to pursue an ‘inappropriate’ relationship with one of his pupils.

By Robert Cumber
Tuesday, 10th March 2020, 10:43 am

Karl Huber was teaching at Ashfield School when he gave the schoolgirl his personal telephone number, sent her a birthday card containing £40, persistently contacted her when she failed to respond to his messages and attempted to ‘emotionally coerce’ her into replying, the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) heard.

The 36-year-old admitted his actions amounted to unacceptable professional conduct and was banned from teaching for at least three years.

A TRA disciplinary panel heard how Mr Huber had been employed at the school since September 2012 and he was suspended in December 2018 after the pupil concerned informed another teacher that month that she had received texts, letters and emails from him, including emails from his personal email account.

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Ashfield School in Kirkby, Nottinghamshire (pic: Google)

Mr Huber told the panel he was pursuing a friendship with the pupil and described his position as that of an ‘agony aunt’.

The panel noted that he shared personal information with the student, sought reassurance from her, outlined the ‘hugely positive impact’ being able to talk to her had on him and ‘repeatedly referred to their friendship’.

“The panel considered that Mr Huber was seeking a relationship with Pupil A beyond that of an appropriate professional relationship and was abusing his position of trust as a teacher through sharing deeply personal information and seeking emotional support from her,” a report by the TRA stated.

The panel concluded that Mr Huber’s conduct amounted to ‘misconduct of a serious nature which fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession’.

“Mr Huber had failed to maintain an appropriate professional relationship with Pupil A and in doing so, seriously contravened the Teacher’s Standards and failed to recognise the impact his actions had on Pupil A’s well-being,” it stated.

Alan Meyrick, acting on behalf of education secretary Gavin Williamson, based on the TRA’s recommendations, issued Mr Huber with a indefinite prohibition order preventing him from teaching at any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or

children’s home in England until at least March 6, 2023, when he can apply for the order to be set aside.

Ashfield School said it was 'appalled' by Mr Huber's behaviour, it had taken immediate action as soon as it became aware of what had happened and he was subsequently dismissed.

A spokeswoman for the school said: “We were appalled by this individual’s actions and fully support the recommendation of the panel. The safety and wellbeing of all our students is always our top priority, and we have robust safeguarding procedures in place across the school to ensure this is the case.

“As soon as we became aware of this individual’s behaviour, we took immediate action and informed the relevant authorities. He was subsequently dismissed and we referred the case to the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA).”