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A PE TEACHER had an ‘inappropriate’ lesbian relationship with one of her pupils, a conduct hearing was told yesterday.
Nicola Webster, who taught The Abbey School, Faversham, Kent, appeared at a General Teaching Council hearing in Birmingham, accused of engaging in the relationship between February 2008 and the school Spring Term in 2009.
During the first day of the two-day hearing into unacceptable professional conduct, the panel heard that Miss Webster and the girl, referred to only as ‘Pupil A’ throughout the hearing, had started a relationship during a school ski-trip in February 2008.
It is alleged that Miss Webster was later seen in public kissing the Year 12 pupil and walking hand-in-hand with her by another member of staff.
She is also accused of sharing her one-bedroomed flat with the girl, and booking a week’s holiday in Palma for the two of them during the Valentine’s Day break in 2009.
The ten allegations surrounding the relationship include references to e-mail and social network communications, as well as photographs which suggested the pair were in a relationship together.
Opening the GTC’s case, presenting officer Stephanie Coates told the panel that an “inappropriate relationship started to form” between Miss Webster and the pupil during a ski trip in February 2009.
She added that a number of subsequent witness sightings of the pair together, as well as documentary evidence had led to an investigation by deputy headteacher Francis Hatt.
English teacher Angela Goss, who had been taking Pupil A for her AS levels, told the hearing that she had seen the girl with Miss Webster in Whitstable on March 16, 2008.
Mrs Goss said that she had seen them walking ‘alone, hand in hand along the seafront’.
In her statement, Mrs Goss said that the girl had leaned in and kissed Miss Webster three times before they went into a pub together.
She said that she followed them into the pub, but that neither approached her to explain what they were doing there.
She said: “As I walked in both Nicola Webster and Pupil A saw me.
“Pupil A immediately went off to the toilets.”
Questioning Mrs Goss, Miss Webster’s representative Simon Pettett suggested that the relationship between Mrs Goss and Pupil A had been strained.
He also said that Pupil A had claimed that she and Miss Webster were not alone on the seafront, and were in fact part of a larger group.
Pupil A had also claimed that she and Webster had met by chance, and that she had been in Whitstable with her boyfriend.
Mrs Goss said: “I can tell you categorically that I only saw Nicola Webster and Pupil A.
“There was nobody else with them.”
She also denied claims that she and Pupil A suffered from a “personality clash”.
She said: “As far as I am aware I had a perfectly normal relationship with her as a pupil and teacher.
“We spoke in class, discussed issues in class, I was not aware of anything like she’s suggesting about a personality clash.
“As far as I’m concerned she was a top grade student.”
The panel also heard that Pupil A left the school shortly after Mrs Goss reported what she saw in Whitstable.
Miss Webster, who was a newly-qualified teacher at the time, denies the allegations against her.
The hearing continues…