by Sian Napier
A former PE teacher at Faversham’s Abbey School, who was accused of having a relationship with a female pupil, has been suspended from teaching for two years.
Nicola Webster, 29, was seen walking hand-in-hand and kissing the pupil and also allowed herself to be photographed with her in a way which suggested they were in a relationship.
On Friday Miss Webster appeared before the General Teaching Council where the suspension order was made.
She had faced 10 allegations relating to her behaviour with the pupil, including that she shared her one bedroomed flat with her, engaged in social networking via Facebook, attended a party with her and booked a holiday to Palma for herself and the pupil.
The hearing was told that Miss Webster had worked at the Abbey School since September 2007.
Allegations were made in an anonymous letter of February 2, 2009 that Miss Webster had developed an inappropriate relationship with the Year 12 pupil which continued after the pupil left the school on March 17, 2008.
Panel members found the allegation that Miss Webster walked hand in hand and kissed the pupil was proved.
A witness said she had seen them walk hand in hand and had seen Miss Webster kiss the pupil three times while in Whitstable.
The panel concluded Miss Webster had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with the pupil.
The panel also accepted that Miss Webster went into a public house in Whitstable with the pupil, therefore engaging in an inappropriate relationship and that she allowed herself to be photographed cheek to cheek with the pupil in a manner which suggested they were in a relationship.
The allegation that Miss Webster had engaged in social networking with the pupil via Facebook was also proved.
However, the panel said that the allegations that Miss Webster had shared her one bedroomed flat with the pupil, had attended a party with her, engaged in email communication which tended to suggest they were in a relationship, booked a holiday together, got into a taxi with her and allowed the pupil to use her laptop to produce and store her school work were not proved.
In finding that Miss Webster engaged in an inappropriate relationship with the pupil panel chairman Gloria Hyatt said this amounted to unacceptable professional conduct which fell short of that expected from a teacher.
Miss Webster denied the allegations.
She left Abbey School in February, 2009.
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