Letter: Woodhead's future

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Sir: I was profoundly shocked to read of Chris Woodhead's suggestion that a relationship between a teacher and a sixth former should not necessarily lead to the teacher's dismissal.

The requisite secrecy and lies of such an affair cause unquestionable emotional damage, such as an inability to trust or to build a more conventional relationship. I know because several years ago I saw a classmate suffer in such a situation. I fear she will never be able to sustain a balanced, loving relationship due to one of a minority who believe themselves above the moral code of the teaching profession.

This profession relies on trust and authority to function, and to allow one who abuses this tacit contract between parents and teachers to remain within teaching is unthinkable. Teacher-pupil relationships rarely have anything to do with the love and care of another person; more often they concern selfishness, insecurity and power. To my mind it would be extremely dangerous to convey the message that such relationships are acceptable, especially within institutions that are supposed to protect young people, not prey upon them.