Teacher jailed after 'full blown' sexual relationship with 15-year-old boy
A teacher who engaged in a “full blown” sexual relationship with a teenager has been jailed after a judge remarked: “What 15-year-old schoolboy would turn down such an attractive offer?”
Alice McBrearty, 23, blamed the affair on the stress of being “thrown in at the deep end” by Teach First, a prestigious fast-track scheme designed to attract the brightest graduates into the teaching profession.
Snaresbrook Crown Court heard how she booked a room at an IBIS hotel where she had sex with the pupil, after befriending him on social media.
They kissed passionately in the classroom, met up three times at her parents' Wanstead home for sexual encounters and kissed in the school classroom, the court heard.
As a birthday treat she picked the boy up from his home and took him to a nearby garage to perform oral sex on him.
Several members of staff raised concerns that she was getting too close the pupil, and she was repeatedly warned by other teachers, but the affair continued.
The relationship unravelled after the boy's father went to police afraid that McBrearty was grooming his son. The boy was interviewed by police with social services, where he admitted the affair.
Judge Sheelagh Canavan told McBrearty that she has had a “spectacular fall from grace”, as she jailed her for 16 months. "You engaged in a full-blown sexual relationship with a 15-year-old child," Judge Canavan said.
"I accept he was consenting - what 15-year-old schoolboy would turn down such an attractive offer?
"I accept you truly believed this was a great romance, you were in love with him and vice versa, and that age didn't matter. But it did.
Lisa Matthews, prosecuting, said they became “besotted” with each other and talked about their future together.
“It started in January when she befriended him on social media,” Ms Matthews say. “He woke up one morning to see a friend request from Alice McBrearty on Facebook. He felt special and accepted it.
“She messaged him asking for his number at the weekend. She took him out to Olympic Park, went for strolls and out for meals. "
Ms Matthews told of sexual encounters that took place in various locations, including an IBIS hotel, her parents' house and her car. "She also kissed him in her classroom in school," Ms Matthews said.
McBreaty, who lives at home with her parents in Wanstead Park, north-east London, wept throughout the hearing.
Emma Shafton, defending, said McBrearty felt demoralised after being “thrown in at the deep end” and teaching subjects she had “no experience” in at a challenging school, having just completed a Teach First programme.
“She detested her job, and that is why instead of socialising with her colleagues she socialised with students in the classroom,” Ms Shafton added.
She said that although McBrearty has a university degree, the only work she has managed to find since leaving the teaching profession is delivering parcels for Amazon.
A Teach First spokesperson said: "The safety of the pupils in our partner schools is our absolute priority. We have clear and robust safeguarding procedures in place.
“All first year participants on our programme complete DBS safeguarding checks before they embark on their training. Schools also require them to complete a DBS check before they begin working in school in September."