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Friday, 3 June 2016
A female primary school teacher who sent flirtatious Instagram messages to an 11-year-old pupil has been banned from the classroom after being found guilty of "unacceptable professional conduct".
Kay Elizabeth Hollingsworth, 31, who taught at Notley Green Primary School in Braintree, Essex sent the boy, who she called Dimples, a series of highly inappropriate messages.
Among the messages were: "About to have a shower #mental image for you lol", "U probs distracted thinking about how fabulous I am" - "Going to bed now dimplesxx" and "I split up with that guy back in October so I'm single and ready to mingle lol."
When the boy's parents found out about the messages, Hollingsworth asked them not to tell the school.
However after appearing before a teachers; disciplinary panel, she admitted the charges and was banned from teaching.
The National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) panel ruled that it was both "proportionate and appropriate" to ban her and that her conduct could bring the teaching profession into disrepute.
As well as the exchanges with the 11-year-old boy, Hollingsworth also had Snapchat exchanges with a former pupil.
She was dismissed from the school in May last year for gross misconduct.
In its findings the NCTL panel says she was a 'phase leader' and class teacher at the school.
The panel stated : "By sending messages to an 11 year old pupil, including some messages containing sexual innuendo which could have been confusing to the pupil, Miss Hollingsworth failed in her position of responsibility to that pupil and her obligation to safeguard pupils' well-being."
However, the findings say that she had "shown remorse for her actions" and that after admitting what she had done had said she would "forever regret the actions that I took."
In a statement she had said : "I am shocked and horrified by what I wrote, putting the pupil in an inappropriate position, the school's reputation in jeopardy and my own career, [to] which I have dedicated nine successful years, in ruin."
Imposing the ban on behalf of the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, Alan Meyrick, Deputy Director of the NCTL said the conduct of Miss Hollingsworth "was a serious departure from the personal and professional conduct elements of Teachers Standards."
I am shocked and horrified by what I wrote, putting the pupil in an inappropriate position, the school's reputation in jeopardy and my own career, [to] which I have dedicated nine successful years, in ruinKay Hollingsworth
He continued : "The nature of the conversations passing between Miss Hollingsworth and Pupil A (which included sexual references and innuendo) and the age of Pupil A, pushed the behaviour over the boundary of seriousness. I agree with the panel that most parents of 11 year olds would think Miss Hollingsworth's behaviour was inappropriate and serious."
He added : "I also support the view of the panel that Miss Hollingsworth's actions constituted an abuse of her position of trust, in that parents put their trust in teachers to behave in an appropriate manner towards pupils.
"Miss Hollingsworth had not behaved appropriately towards current and former pupils and had recognised that she had acted in violation of her position when she pleaded with Pupil A's parents not to tell the school."
He said he supported the panel's recommendation that she should be banned from teaching but also supported their recommendation that the way should be left open to her to seek to return to teaching in the future.
He ruled that she can seek to have the ban lifted after two years but made it clear that she would have to convince another NCTL panel that she was fit to return to the classroom before the ban would be lifted.
It is open to her to appeal to the High Court against the ban.