Female primary school teacher sacked over 'inappropriate' messages to boy (11)
Kay Hollingsworth (30) admitted to messaging the pupil and telling him to imagine her naked in the shower, adding that she was 'single and ready to mingle'
A primary school teacher has been sacked after she sent "inappropriate" Instagram messages to an 11-year-old pupil.
Kay Hollingsworth, 30, admitted to messaging the boy and telling him to imagine her naked in the shower, adding that she was "single and ready to mingle".
She also communicated with another boy who had left school via Snapchat, despite agreeing not to contact pupils through social media when she became a member of staff.
Ms Hollingsworth was employed as a teacher at Notley Green Primary School in Braintree, Essex.
She taught for nine years, during which time she was a runner up for Primary Teacher of the Year in the Essex Teaching Awards, receiving a mention for "special recognition".
In November 2014, the school’s head teacher received a call from a shocked mother, who was a former pupil of the school. She had concerns that Ms Hollingsworth was having conversations with her son, known as Pupil C, via photo messaging app Instagram.
An investigation revealed the single teacher had sent the 11-year-old a number of flirty messages. They included:
"About to have a shower #mental image for you lol. Bk in a min x"
"U probs distracted thinking about how fabulous I am (jokes)"
"Going to bed now dimples xx"
"Should I delete our convo in case someone sees it?"
"See u don’t like me telling you stuff. U won’t love me anymore… bet u won’t look at me tomorrow"
"I split up with that guy back in October so now I’m single and ready to mingle lol’."
The misconduct hearing was told: "Pupil A’s parents were very surprised when they discovered the messages passing between Ms Hollingsworth and Pupil A as they had respected her as a teacher."
She was suspended and sacked in May 2015 for gross misconduct. She told investigators: "I am shocked and horrified by what I wrote.
"I put 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."
A misconduct hearing by the National College for Teaching and Leadership in Coventry said it did not believe the messages contained anything sinister or that there was any suggestion of grooming.
But members agreed the conversations were immature and inappropriate and found the teacher guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.
Banning her from teaching for at least two years, Alan Meyrick, acting on behalf of the education secretary, said: "Ms Hollingsworth’s actions constituted an abuse of her position of trust.
"She recognised that she had acted in violation of her position when she pleaded with Pupil A’s parents not to tell the school.
"The nature of the conversations, 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 Ms Hollingsworth’s behaviour was inappropriate and serious."
The panel accepted Ms Hollingsworth has since gained medical advice and assistance as she was going through a low period at the time of the allegations.