A former Vandyke Upper School teacher who sent sexy emails to a 16-year-old pupil, kissed her in school and fantasised about a sexual relationship with her has been banned from the country’s classrooms for five years.
Jonathan Layfield, 25, was handed the ban in a decision taken on behalf of Education Secretary Nicky Morgan. It follows a disciplinary panel finding that he was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct whilst employed at the Leighton Buzzard school.
The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) professional conduct panel found that there was an “inappropriate relationship” between Layfield and the 16-year-old female student, named only as Student A.
Panel chair Ian Hughes said that it was alleged that between July 2012 and May 2014, in a series of emails between Mr Layfield and Student A, he “significantly transgressed appropriate professional boundaries between teacher and student” with the nature and content of those emails which were said to have been “sexualised and inappropriate”.
He continued: “It is further alleged that on 14 March 2014 the relationship became physical in that Mr Layfield and Student A kissed whilst on school property.”
Over the weekend of March 15-16, 2014 he said that Student A’s parents became aware of the relationship though their daughter in a school interview initially denied the relationship.
Mr Hughes said: “When shown the emails between them which the school had obtained copies of she accepted that a relationship had indeed taken place and said that she felt very guilty about it. She was extremely worried that Mr Layfield might lose his job. The school principal immediately suspended Mr Layfield.”
He resigned from his post on May 12.
The panel found that the emails were sent with “unusual frequency” at times which were “out of the ordinary”, often late at night and said that Layfield had admitted kissing the girl.
His conduct was “sexually motivated” say the findings.
Mr Hughes said: “The language and contents of the emails sent by Mr Layfield was undoubtedly sexualised and on one occasion revealed that he had fantasies of having sexual intercourse with Student A.”
Imposing the ban on behalf of the Secretary of State, NCTL official Paul Heathcote said Layfield’s actions were a serious departure from the standards expected of a teacher and added that Layfield did not appear to have a full appreciation of the importance of maintaining boundaries between teachers and pupils.
He said that Layfield needed time to develop the maturity and skills to be able to manage boundaries and his relationships with his pupils.
The decision means that Layfield is prohibited from teaching in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.
He may apply for the Prohibition Order to be set aside, but not until November 2019, and if he does so he will have to persuade a panel that he is fit to return to the classroom.
He has a right of appeal to the High Court.