Former private school teacher banned from profession for life for sexually touching pupil
- Credit: Steve Adams
A former teacher at a top private Norfolk school has been struck off for sexually touching a pupil - despite a jury acquitting him three years ago.
Robbie Brittain was a physics teacher at Langley School, near Loddon, from September 2011 until 2014.
But in 2015 he was charged with a series of sex offences against a girl during his time at the school.
Mr Brittain consistently denied the allegations and a jury acquitted him in January 2016.
But now the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) has banned him from teaching for life.
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The agency's professional conduct panel said Mr Brittain had 'developed a connection' with the pupil during a school trip, and that due to her troubled family background she 'welcomed support and friendship from anyone who would provide it to her.'
But after the trip, when there was a mix up and the pupil's mother did not arrive to collect her, Mr Brittain gave the student a lift.
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During the car journey the pupil said she was distressed and talked about her difficult relationship with her mother, when Mr Brittain touched her inner thigh.
The panel found that while Mr Brittain did touch her thigh, which was inappropriate, they did not feel it was sexual.
But some months later he started to give her private physics tuition. And after a few weeks, the girl said Mr Brittain started to touch her sexually.
The TRA said the pupil reported 'Mr Brittain would place a coat over both of them which was also used as a makeshift table but which also served the purpose of concealing this mutual touching'.
The panel was convinced this had happened, and that it was sexually motivated.
By April 2014, when the tuition had stopped, the girl had told another pupil about the sexual activity and by another school trip in the summer others were told, leading to a teacher taking a statement from the girl and, after returning to the UK, it was reported to the police.
The panel recognised Mr Brittain was 'a teacher who was highly regarded by colleagues, and a man of good character' and that he denied the allegations.
He also denied them when interviewed by police and at trial.
He had said the girl was 'fabricating the allegations, and that she was a troubled young woman prone to lying and exaggeration, motivated by a desire to be the centre of attention and to distract from her poor behaviour'.
But the panel found 'no motivation to fabricate allegations or, importantly, persist in such allegations when giving evidence on oath many years later and long after she had left the school'.
The panel said the pupil's 'account was both compelling and credible, and for that reason it prefers her account to that of Mr Brittain in relation to the factual matters relevant to the allegation'.
It found 'Mr Brittain has involved himself in unacceptable professional conduct which involves sexual misconduct, and it can also be said that this behaviour is directly associated with unlawful sexual activity'.
A spokesman for Langley School said: 'Every employee at Langley School; teachers, support staff and volunteers, go through rigorous pre-employment safeguarding checks, as well as regular training in line with other organisations who work with children. The school's deputy head (pastoral) leads a team of safeguarding specialists who are responsible for ensuring safety and safeguarding of every pupil at Langley.
'Our number one priority is the wellbeing and safety of our pupils.'