AN ethics teacher at a top Dorset private school has been banned from the classroom for life after admitting a sexual relationship with a pupil.

John Boothby, who taught in Canford School's Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct when his case was heard by a National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) panel.

And panel members said they "were not persuaded that Mr Boothby would not make this same mistake in the future."

The disciplinary panel heard that Mr Boothby engaged in a sexual relationship with a girl, identified only as pupil A, when she was 18-years-old.

Mr Boothby, 27, admitted failing to maintain appropriate professional boundaries and / or breaching his position of trust in respect of her.

In a police interview considered by the panel, the pupil said the relationship had been "consensual and not forced."

The findings continued: "She explained that they initially became close, they kissed, they gradually became more comfortable around each other and eventually 'a sexual relationship did develop, but not rapidly.' Pupil A also confirmed that she had 'ended up in a B and B' with Mr Boothby during half term, where he had told her that he loved her. She added that 'I told him I loved him a week later.'"

The panel said that Mr Boothby had accepted that he "had an inappropriate sexual relationship" with the girl and said : "In engaging in a sexual relationship with Pupil A I was entirely unprofessional, and fully deserve the termination of employment and procedures that have followed.

"My behaviour is something I hugely regret. It has caused more pain to my family and close friends than I would ever have wished to bring anyone, and was a huge breach of the standards that were, rightly, expected of me as a teacher."

NCTL head of teacher misconduct, Jayne Millions, imposed the ban with no opportunity for him to apply at a later date to have it lifted. He can, however, seek to challenge the ruling at the High Court.

Ms Millions said Mr Boothby's actions were deliberate and said the ban is "both proportionate and necessary."

She said Mr Boothby's actions had the potential to result in harm to pupil A and said Mr Boothby had not expressed sufficient insight into the role of a teacher.

The disgraced teacher taught in the school's Religious Studies and Philosophy department, where studies include matters of ethics.

A spokesman for Canford School said: "Canford expects the highest standards of professionalism from all staff at all times. There is no room for any misunderstanding on the clear boundaries between staff and pupils as detailed in our official safeguarding policies.

"The school takes such matters extremely seriously and immediately informed the relevant external authorities. At all times the school followed its established procedures, which are in line with official regulatory requirements."