LMS Chairman yesterday makes reference, in a sage article, about a recent episcopal resignation of what happens to teachers if they involve themselves in relationships with pupils.
The law has been tightened and it is now illegal for a teacher to have a relationship with any pupil. That includes sixth formers. It seems that there has been a recognition that the pupil-teacher relationship is always a power relationship and that it is up to the one with the power not to exploit the one without.
Although being checked out for convictions/ cautions etc is a drag every three years, teachers are party to a huge amount of confidential information as well as access to hundreds of children and teenagers, so it is as well to be careful.
I am not allowed to give my mobile number or private email address to pupils. Any email that I write referring to a pupil can be requested by parents under the Data Protection Act.
We have a dress code at work. On Prize Day, I must wear a suit and academic dress. For concerts, I wear black.
When an exceptionally casual parent addresses me by my Christian name in an email, the reply is signed Miss Initial Initial Surname.
All these things create and maintain the correct environment in which pupils can safely learn and I can safely teach.
There are occasions where pupils need to be able to say and do things that place them in a vulnerable position and they need to be confident that they are not going to come to any harm. Their parents have a right to the same level of confidence.