Tolworth Girls' School and Sixth Form in Kingston, London

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Christopher Austen claimed neither of them initially knew they were at the same school

A teacher has been banned for having sex with an 18-year-old student.

Christopher Austen began a relationship with the girl in 2016 after meeting her at a supermarket where she worked.

He claimed it was a month before the pair realised he taught at Tolworth Girls’ School and Sixth Form in Kingston, London, where she was a pupil.

The Teaching Regulation Agency said he could appeal against his lifetime ban after three years.

In a statement provided to the professional conduct panel, the 29-year-old newly qualified teacher admitted knowing the 18-year-old was a student.

But he claimed neither of them initially knew they were at the same school.

In evidence, the A-level student said he urged her to keep quiet about their relationship and said “I really like you, we just have to keep this secret”.

She added: “He didn’t groom me; I was a consenting adult… but the situation started to feel uncomfortable. I felt he had a duty of care to me.”

‘I was scared’

She ended the relationship on Christmas Eve 2016 because it “weirded” her out and she “couldn’t cope with it”, the panel heard.

He tried to talk to her about it at her place of work and gave her a letter asking to get back together again, she said.

Mr Austen did not attend the hearing but during his disciplinary interview he admitted “it was hard to differentiate between the girlfriend I saw and the student I saw”.

He did not report the situation to the school.

“I was scared – it was my first half term being a teacher and I didn’t want it to affect her studies,” he previously said.

Two colleagues described Mr Austen as a good teacher who was well-respected in the school.

In a report the panel concluded he demonstrated a lack of professional judgment, his conduct fell “significantly” short of the standards expected and he “allowed his emotions to override his professional responsibilities”.

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