A private school teacher who struck up “inappropriate” friendships with his favourite pupils, promising them “preferential treatment” and access to Conservative Party events, has been spared a ban.
In one exchange with a pupil, who Mr Hawken called his “golden boy”, the teacher invited him to a Conservative Party event before signing off the email with “up the Tories as always”.
Mr Hawken, former head of Year 11 at the co-educational school, was dismissed from the post in November last year following an investigation into his private emails and texts to students.
In one text message, Mr Hawken told another student: “I’ve given you special and personal privileges so please take them. You’re No 1 and I’ve given you exclusive rights to that honour.
“Many want that status, but they won’t have it, you’re it…You’re the apple of my eye…Can’t wait to see you fella. Missed you since that coffee catch up.”
The teacher also asked the pupil to send over photos of himself while on holiday in France.
Mr Hawken admitted that he “failed to maintain appropriate professional boundaries and engaged in inappropriate relationships” with five students between 2017 and 2018.
A report by the Teaching Regulation Agency ruled that his actions amounted to unacceptable professional conduct – but his behaviour did not warrant a ban from the classroom.
The panel ruled that he struck up “inappropriate” relationships with the pupils concerned, but his actions were not alleged to be “sexually motivated”.
Alan Meyrick, acting on behalf of the Secretary of State, said a classroom ban would “clearly deprive the public of his contribution to the profession”.