Castlebrook High School teacher struck off for sending 'sex texts' to pupil using WhatsApp

Bury Times: WhatsApp WhatsApp

A TEACHER has been banned fom the classroom for life after sending "sex texts" to a pupil.

Victoria Ayris was working as a chemistry teacher at Castlebrook High School in Unsworth when she struck up an inappropriate relationship with a year 11 boy and they exchanged 2,000 text messages over a nine-month period.

Ms Ayris, now aged 30, also sent the boy photographs of herself, though they were not of a sexual nature.

When headteacher Anthony Roberts discovered what was going on and warned her to stop, Ms Ayris “panicked” and messaged the boy again, urging him to delete evidence of their personal relationship.

Afterwards, Ms Ayris was suspended and interviewed under caution by police, though no charges were brought.

The disciplinary case was brought before the National College for Teaching and Leadership professional conduct panel, which published its verdict report on Tuesday.

The panel banned Ms Ayris from teaching for life, although she can challenge the ruling in two years.

Ms Ayris began work at the school in September, 2008, and was “well regarded at the school” and “an outstanding, hard-working teacher whose results had been consistently good,” the report said.

But in February, 2012, she exchanged mobile phone numbers with "Pupil A" — a male pupil then aged 15 or 16, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

In the following nine months, Mrs Ayris used WhatsApp to exchange scores of messages each day and “included some content of a personal and sexual nature”.

Texts exchanged on June 12, 2012, were “sexual and graphic” and “the interactions between Ms Ayris and Pupil A had apparently become the subject of rumour and gossip amongst other pupils and staff at the school.”

Another pupil told Mr Roberts about the texts and Mr Roberts met Ms Ayris on November 16, 2012, to order her to stop personal contact with the boy, the panel’s report said.

She then messaged him saying: “Delete my phone number and all messages including WhatsApp — don’t ask why just do it — your mum will want to see your phone when you get home.”

It later emerged Ms Ayris had lied to Mr Roberts, initially claiming she did not even have Pupil A’s number and then she failed to provide all of the texts between her and Pupil A “albeit she did provide them after being asked again”.

Ms Ayris resigned from the school on April 16 last year and police studied the phone records and text message content and interviewed her under caution before concluding no offence had been committed.

The panel said Ms Ayris’s actions consisted of misconduct of a serious nature.

Ms Ayris admitted the allegation, apologised and said she would not repeat such actions in future.

“The panel also considered the statements of Pupil A’s parents, which were supportive of Ms Ayris and her help of Pupil A during a difficult time in his life,” said the report.

It added: “The panel is satisfied that the conduct of Ms Ayris fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession.”

Ms Ayris has 28 days to appeal against the panel’s decision.

The Bury Times has been unable to contact her for a comment.

On behalf of the school in Parr Lane, a Local Education Authority spokesman said: “When the allegations of misconduct were raised, the matter was immediately reported to the local authority.

“In accordance with procedure, the teacher was suspended pending investigation of these allegations, and she subsequently resigned in April, 2013.

“Safeguarding of pupils in all our schools remains paramount, and all of our schools have robust safeguarding procedures, which in this case resulted in a referral to the teachers’ regulatory body and dealt with appropriately.”

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