A former teacher who called a pupil ‘stunning’, touched her arm and hugged her has been banned from teaching for life.

Richard Pate, a former teacher at St Augustine’s Roman Catholic High School in Billington, will never be allowed to step foot in a classroom again after a panel found his acts against the girl were “sexually motivated”.

He also admitted to engaging in sexual touching with the girl in the months after she had left school, and phoning in sick to work twice in order to go and meet her.

In evidence provided to a Teaching Regulation Agency professional conduct panel which sat earlier this month, it was said Pate was holding one-to-one tuition with the key stage four pupil, saying it was a “legitimate and effective tool for delivering pupil progress.”

Despite the pupil saying she felt she longer required the tuition, Pate agreed to continue as he had developed a “fondness” for her.

Speaking to a witness, the girl said she had become “close” with Pate while she was a pupil at the school, explaining that he provided extra support lessons for her alone, which she had recognised as “special treatment.”

The English teacher said he could not remember, but it was “possible” he had touched the girl, however photos showed him with his arm around her in the classroom.

The pupil said in her statement: “He would sit next to and sometimes touch my arm and put his arm round me as a friendly hug.”

Pate also gave the pupil a book with a note inside saying “you know where I’ll be If you need me”, as well as writing in the book that she had a “gorgeous smile”, something he said he regretted.

Pate stated that over his 14 years of teaching he had given a number of pupils a copy of the same book.

The book told a story about a boss who had strong feelings for his intern and how the ‘boss’ would try to restrain himself from disclosing his feelings.

Pate said the story was “an outlet for him to try and process the emotions he had been experiencing at what was a very foreign and confusing time.”

After she left school, she came across the disgraced teacher again at the leavers’ ball and he whispered in her ear that she looked “stunning”.

Pate said he also commented on the appearance of a number of pupils, both male and female.

Pate told the panel that his actions “were not driven by sexual intention but purely by an overwhelming and encompassing sense of joy brought through emotional companionship” – however the panel dismissed this, saying his actions were “sexually motivated”.

Between 2017 and July 2018, the panel found Pate had provided one-to-one exam tuition to the pupil; commented on their appearance; told her she had a “gorgeous smile” or words to that effect; touched her arm; hugged her; gave her a book with a personalised message; gave her a story about an intern and a boss who had a relationship, referring to himself as the ‘boss’ and the pupil as the ‘intern’; and told the girl she looked “stunning”.

After the pupil had left the school, Pate admitted he sent her one or more letters, text messages, emails from his work and/or his personal email address, and a card with the caption “I literally can’t keep my hands off you” or words to that effect.

He also admitted to meeting her on one or more occasions, going to the cinema with her, going for one or more walks with her, engaging in a ‘Panic Room’ activity with her, kissing her, and engaging in sexual touching with her.

The panel has prohibited Mr Pate from teaching indefinitely, as well as not being able to work in any youth accommodation or children’s home in England.

They added that in view of the seriousness of the allegations found proved against him, Mr Pate is not entitled to apply for restoration of his eligibility to teach.

Pate's former employer welcomed the decision by the TRA.

Michael Wright, headteacher of St Augustine's RC High School, said: “Having followed the appropriate safeguarding procedures and reporting the matter to the relevant authorities we are satisfied with the outcome of the Teacher Regulation Agency hearing.

"The hearing determined that the former teacher, who was dismissed from the school a number of years ago, 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 proven against the former teacher, the office of the Secretary of State decided that this person shall not be entitled to apply for restoration of his eligibility to teach.”