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Former Grantham King’s School teacher banned after inappropriate relationship with pupil





A former teacher kissed a pupil and sent images of herself to them as part of an inappropriate relationship.

Emma Houlihan, who previously taught at The King’s School in Grantham, was banned from teaching following a professional conduct panel.

The panel, convened by the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA), met virtually on February 26 to deliberate on Houlihan's case and published the outcome today (Monday, March 18).

Houlihan taught at King's School, in Grantham.
Houlihan taught at King's School, in Grantham.

Allegations against Houlihan included engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a pupil over a period of months, failing to disclose an arrest and subsequent conviction to the school, and providing false information regarding her relationship with the pupil.

The TRA agreed to consider the allegations without a hearing, with Houlihan admitting to the charges by providing a signed Statement of Agreed Facts.

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Evidence presented during the proceedings included text messages, inappropriate images, and testimony confirming the nature of the relationship between Houlihan and the pupil.

Screenshots of text messages showed Houlihan stating she missed Pupil A and asking Pupil A to stop being “tempting”.

Kissing took place in her classroom during and after school.

Houlihan also phoned the pupil while drink-driving.

“She was driving, upset and had said to Pupil A that she was drunk. [REDACTED] stated that Houlihan had been pulled over for drink-driving by the police,” said the report.

The panel noted that “Houlihan had called Pupil A while drink-driving, putting him in a stressful position, and Pupil A was aware of Houlihan’s conviction”.

“Houlihan was in a position of trust and should have acted as a role model to Pupil A.”

She failed to disclose that she had been convicted for failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

Houlihan initially denied kissing Pupil A and sending images of herself to Pupil A but later fully admitted the allegations.

The panel considered that Houlihan was aware that her actions were inappropriate and falling short of the standards of behaviour expected of a teacher.

The report added: “The panel noted that Pupil A was over [REDACTED] at the time of Houlihan’s conduct and Houlihan had not taught Pupil A.

“Although Houlihan had acted inappropriately, the panel considered that this was at a time when Houlihan was a relatively newly qualified teacher and, from the notes taken during the school’s investigation, considered Houlihan to be vulnerable.”

Despite Houlihan's resignation from her position, the panel deliberated on the severity of the allegations and their implications for professional conduct and public trust in the teaching profession.

Although Houlihan fully admitted the allegations, the panel said it had not been provided with any evidence as to her level of insight or remorse into her actions.

“The lack of evidence of insight and remorse means that there is some risk of the repetition of this behaviour and this puts at risk the future wellbeing of pupils,” said the report.

After careful consideration, the panel recommended to the Secretary of State for Education that Houlihan be prohibited from teaching indefinitely.

The report on the hearing said: “The panel was satisfied that the conduct of Houlihan involved breaches of the responsibilities and duties set out in statutory guidance Keeping children safe in education (KCSIE).

“The panel finds that the conduct of Houlihan fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession.

“The findings of misconduct are particularly serious as they include a finding of developing an inappropriate relationship with a pupil, which was sexually motivated.

“The findings also include a conviction for a relevant offence and behaviour which was dishonest and lacked integrity.”

Houlihan can apply for the order to be set aside after five years; however, this will not be automatic and she will have to appear before another panel.



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