James Rich, 47, favoured the girl over classmates and started a sexual relationship after she left, a panel found
James Rich, 47, was employed at Leicester Grammar School from September 2012 to December 2018.
A panel found he had favoured the pupil over classmates and started a sexual relationship after she left school. The Teaching Regulation Agency said the behaviour amounted to unacceptable professional conduct and issued a two-year prohibition order.
He was initially employed as deputy headteacher but later held the position of acting headteacher. In its judgement the panel found allegations he failed to maintain appropriate professional boundaries with the girl – known as Pupil A – by sharing details of his private life and giving her excessive praise, proven.
Despite denials from Mr Rich, the panel also found evidence from friends of Pupil A, particularly in the form of messages discussing the relationship, also showed a sexual relationship had begun in the summer of 2017, after she left.
But it also said further allegations, that his behaviour at school was sexually-motivated, were not proven.
In its ruling, the panel said: “Whilst the panel considered Mr Rich’s conduct to be sufficiently serious to require prohibition, the panel noted that Pupil A was over the age of 18 when the relationship became sexual, and that the relationship appeared to be consensual.
“The panel did not consider there was a particular risk of repetition – but found that Mr Rich had not yet developed appropriate insight as to the potential consequences of his actions.”
Rich was not present at the hearing nor was he represented. The school said: “[Mr Rich] was acting head when a concern was raised in September 2018 and [he] was immediately suspended.
“The school alerted the relevant authorities, and he was dismissed following a disciplinary hearing on the grounds of professional misconduct and referred to the Teaching Regulation Agency.
“Pupils’ safety is our overriding priority, and much has been done, both nationally and in our own schools, to reinforce further the safeguarding measures in place.
“The Trust is meticulous in ensuring that all who are in a position of trust fully understand expectations not only of their own conduct but also of raising low-level concerns relating to others.”