| 16.7°C Dublin

Teacher banned from classroom after sleeping with private school pupil


Ruth Vaughan

Ruth Vaughan

Ruth Vaughan

A 26-year-old who began an affair with an independent school pupil after kissing him at a leavers' ball has been banned from teaching for three years.

Ruth Vaughan, who taught design and technology at Oakham School, Rutland, kissed the student and swapped numbers with him at the event.

She admitted that they subsequently embarked on a sexual relationship shortly after he started university the following term.

Miss Vaughan also bought drinks for two pupils who were under 18 in a pub near the school and then asked them to lie about it when she realised she was facing disciplinary action.

The National Council for Teaching and Leadership found her guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and banned her from teaching for a minimum of three years.

Miss Vaughan, from Bristol, qualified as a teacher in June 2012 after completing a PGCE.

She had been offered the job at Oakham School, where annual boarding fees reach nearly £30,000, the previous January.

At the time, her father, Jonalan Vaughan, 49, expressed his pride on Facebook, writing: “So proud of my Ruth. First interview & first job sorted. Private boys school in Rutland. Wow good girl.”

She began working at the school in September 2012. But in June 2013, the deputy head was informed of a rumour about her relationship with a pupil, known only as Student A.

Both the student and Miss Vaughan denied the allegations.

But it later emerged that at around 1am following the school leavers’ ball on June 28, they had kissed on the mouth. That summer, the pair kept in touch and “became friends”.

The student told the panel that they began sleeping with each other the following month.

Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

When asked about the allegations by the school that September, Miss Vaughan denied the existence of a relationship.

Although she did not teach Student A, Miss Vaughan had got to know him through the school’s cadet force, for which she was an instructor, the panel heard.

Further concerns were raised in November 2013, when the teacher was said to have purchased drinks for two under age pupils at the Lord Nelson pub.

Two months later, one of the pupils’ mothers contacted the school twice about the incident, revealing that Miss Vaughan had sent one of the boys a message on Facebook, asking them to lie about what happened.

It said: “I just need him to say… you both remember me asking you to leave… I didn’t buy u drinks. You don’t drink atal”.

She was dismissed a few days later.

The panel said the contact with students via a social networking site was “inappropriate” as was the encouragement to lie.

It said the misconduct findings were “serious” and that Miss Vaughan's actions were sexually motivated, bringing the profession into disrepute by abusing the “uniquely influential role” that teachers hold.

Imposing the ban on behalf of Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, Alan Meyrick, NCTL deputy director, said: "This is a case in which the teacher has breached acceptable boundaries and has also been dishonest about her actions. These are both serious matters."

However, he noted that her conduct was “at the lower end of the possible spectrum,” that the incidents did not involve grooming and that she was young and inexperienced.

He stated that with time, she might acquire the ability to define boundaries with pupils and so recommended that the banning order could be reviewed after three years.

Nigel Lashbrook, the head of Oakham School, said: "Miss Vaughan’s behaviour fell significantly short of the standards expected by the profession. We therefore took swift and decisive legal action.

"She was summarily dismissed and we made our referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

"In light of this incident, the School has reflected on its policies and practice and have found that they were indeed robust enough to deal with such inappropriate conduct."

Miss Vaughan has since moved to Saudi Arabia for two years and was unavailable for comment.

Her family, who are committed Christians and regularly write about their faith on Facebook, did not wish to comment.

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]

Most Watched