Sexual affairs between pupils and teachers 'can be beneficial'

Pat Sikes, an education lecturer, has written a paper in defence of pupil-teacher affairs, arguing that it is wrong always to cast students as victims when they are often the instigators of genuine relationships and suggesting that about 1,500 pupil-teacher affairs develop every year, the Times Educational Supplement reports today.

Dr Sikes said she had always been curious about relationships that began in the classroom because she had married her history teacher after falling for him at the age of 14. She met her husband, David, in 1970 on her first day at upper school, aged 14, and his first day as a teacher, aged 22. "It wasn't until two years later, on the evening that he left the school to take up a post elsewhere that we declared our feelings for and to each other ... I returned to school, after the summer vacation as [his] girlfriend," she said.

Dr Sikes claims such teacher-pupil affairs were not uncommon at her liberal comprehensive school in Leicestershire, and were not seen as exploitative.

Her paper angered children's charities, which labelled it "bizarre at best". Natasha Finlayson, of ChildLine, said: "For Dr Sikes to praise the 'seductive nature and erotic charge' of good teaching is misguided and bizarre at best.

"The Sexual Offences Act was designed with a welcome emphasis on protecting children and young people, rather than on the rights of the small number of pupils over the age of consent who choose to engage in sexual relationships on equal terms with a teacher."

Phillip Noyes, the NSPCC's director of public policy, added: "Children spend the majority of their day at school and teachers have a unique relationship with their pupils which should never be abused."

Dr Sikes's paper, "Scandalous stories and dangerous liaisons: when female pupils and male teachers fall in love", describes one relationship that began, albeit platonically, when one pupil was just 13, and another where a 17-year-old student had a sexual affair with her 35-year-old study supervisor.

Dr Sikes argues that the change in the law in 2003 which criminalises sexual relationships between pupils and teachers if the pupil is under the age of 18, inevitably labels students as victims, when they can frequently be the instigators of genuine relationships.

Dr Sikes decided to conduct her study after the former chief inspector of schools Chris Woodhead admitted in 1999 that he had had a relationship with a former pupil years earlier. He said such experiences could be "educative", sparking a public outcry. Mr Woodhead denied the affair began while he was still a teacher and a government inquiry decided he had no case to answer.

Dr Sikes says: "Expressions of sexuality provide a major currency and resource in the everyday exchanges of school life ... and nowhere more so, perhaps, than in the seductive nature and 'erotic charge' often characteristic of 'good' teaching which provokes a positive and exciting response." She emphasised that she was "totally opposed to child abuse, paedophilia and exploitative relationships of all kinds" and said her study was based on information volunteered by those pupils who had no regrets about their relationships.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Senior Research Fellow in Gender, Food and Resilient Communities

£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: The Centre for Agroecology, ...

Senior Research Fellow in Water and Resilient communities

£47,334 - £59,058 per annum: Coventry University: Our team of leading academic...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£60 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Special Needs Teaching Assistants...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker