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PE teacher banned from teaching for life after pressuring a 16-year-old into sex

Erin Hebblewhite, now 32, will never teach again  (Metropolitan Police)
Erin Hebblewhite, now 32, will never teach again (Metropolitan Police)

A PE teacher who had a sexual relationship with a teenager has been banned from returning to the classroom for life after she was jailed for two years.

Erin Hebblewhite, now 32, will never teach again after a misconduct panel banned her from returning to the profession.

In 2021 Hebblewhite was sentenced to two years in prison after a court heard she had pressured a 16 year old girl into sex during an illicit relationship.

Now the Teaching Regulation Agency has prohibited her from teaching anywhere in England, and she will not be able to apply for her eligibility to teach to be restored.

Decisionmaker Marc Cavey wrote: “In this case, I have placed considerable weight on the very serious nature of Ms Hebblewhite’s offences which involved sexual activity with a child. I have also taken into account the lack of evidence of insight and remorse on Ms Hebblewhite’s behalf.”

He added that he gave less weight in his consideration to the “contribution that Ms Hebblewhite has made to the profession. In my view, it is necessary to impose a prohibition order in order to maintain public confidence in the profession”.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard that Hebblewhite groomed the victim with flirty text messages before they launched into an “intense and passionate” affair.

It heard that the teacher first had sex with the girl in the toilets of a restaurant during a meal out for Valentine’s Day.

The teenager had her first kiss with Hebblewhite, lost her virginity to the older woman, and told police she felt pressured into posing for naked pictures.

The relationship was exposed when the girl’s family – concerned about alarming changes in her appearance and behaviour – confiscated her phone and found messages from Hebblewhite.

Hebblewhite pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual activity with a child, sexual activity in the presence of a child, and two charges of making indecent photographs. She was banned from contacting the teenager for ten years.

All of the charges of sexual activity with the girl took place in the same year Hebblewhite was put forward for a teacher of the year award.

In his conclusions, Mr Cavey said: “The panel finds that the conduct of Ms Hebblewhite fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession. The findings of misconduct are particularly serious as they involve direct sexual activity with a child which included the making of indecent images and ultimately led to a sentence of imprisonment."

Mr Cavey said Hebblewhite had shown no remorse for her actions and that her offending made her "incompatible with being a teacher".

He added: "This means that Ms Erin Hebblewhite is prohibited from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.

"Furthermore, in view of the seriousness of the allegations found proved against her, I have decided that Ms Hebblewhite shall not be entitled to apply for restoration of her eligibility to teach."