A Catholic primary school teacher and former Girl Guide leader has been struck off after having secret conversations about her sexuality while playing Fortnite with two pupils.
Charlotte Weeks, 27, discussed her sexuality and the sexuality of another teacher, with the male and female pupil while playing Fortnite on her PlayStation from her flat in Orpington, London, from July to August 2019.
She was also discovered by a colleague talking to the boy, referred to as Pupil A, behind a closed door in the staff bedroom during a school trip that she was in charge of.
A Teaching Regulation Agency hearing in Coventry was told the teacher repeatedly sided with the boy when he was spoken to by her colleagues for bad behaviour, which included pushing a classmate into a bed of stinging nettles.
An Investigation was launched by Holy Innocents’ Catholic Primary School in Orpington, Kent, into teacher Charlotte Weeks, 27
The panel noted in their evidence that the teacher’s flatmate felt uncomfortable with this situation and left the property after expressing her concern.
Panel Chairman Professor Roger Woods said: ‘Ms Weeks, at some point in the absence of her flatmate began to play Fortnite, with pupils, using a colleague’s identity.
‘However, Ms Weeks then purchased her own PlayStation and continued to play Fortnite with the pupils under the name ”Daisy”.’
The hearing was told that the girl, referred to as Pupil B, was so upset she refused to play the game with Ms Weeks ever again.
She also told her mother what had happened and her mother informed the school safeguarding watchdogs.
An investigation was then launched by Holy Innocents’ Catholic Primary School, Orpington, Kent, where Miss Weeks had taught since 2016.
Ms Weeks accepted that on at least one occasion during the school trip she had sat alone in a room with Pupil A while the door was closed, but claimed she had been asked to keep an eye on the boy by his mother.
She accepted that on more than one occasion she had engaged in an online conversation with Pupils A and B while playing the game Fortnite.
‘Ms Weeks admitted that she had done so without the consent of either the pupils’ parents or the knowledge or consent of the school’s senior leadership team,’ Professor Woods added.
‘Ms Weeks accepted that during the online conversations she had discussed inappropriate personal matters with Pupil A and/or B including her sexuality and/or the sexuality of one of her colleagues.
‘Additionally, Ms Weeks admitted her conduct in this respect fell far below the standards expected of members of the teaching profession.
‘Ms Weeks accepted the inappropriate conversations caused Pupil B to be upset.’
The teacher had the conversations with the male and female pupil while playing Fortnite on her PlayStation. (Stock image)
During the hearing, a panel heard that when Miss Weeks accompanied pupils on a residential school trip, she gave preferential treatment to Pupil A and undermined the decisions and instructions given to Pupil A by her colleagues.
She was also found alone with Pupil A in the teachers’ bedroom with the door closed before a colleague entered.
Once when Pupil A was told he would miss free time for making an inappropriate comment about another pupil’s sister’s breasts, Ms Weeks overruled the decision and gave him his free time back.
Professor Woods continued: ‘The panel considered that Ms Weeks had been placed in a particular position of trust during the school trip as she had been the designated lead on the trip.
‘The panel considered that she had seriously abused that position of elevated trust in the way she had acted during the trip.
‘Moreover, the panel considered Ms Weeks again abused her position of trust in playing Fortnite with pupils online without the consent of parents and the school whilst discussing and disclosing inappropriate information.
‘Having found the facts of the allegations proved, the panel further found that Ms Weeks’ conduct amounted to both unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.’
Professor Woods added: ‘The panel considered that from the evidence provided Ms Weeks did have a previous good history as a teacher.
‘She had not been subject to any previous regulatory proceedings and the panel accepted that the incidents appeared to be out of character.
‘But the panel also considered that Ms Weeks had only shown limited insight into her actions and the harmful impact they could have had on pupils, the school and the profession.’
The teacher, who resigned in October 2019, was banned from the profession with the right to apply for reinstatement in three years.