Messages: Hester Barsham-Rolfe sent emails to the boy
A mistress at a top private school made famous by the film Chariots Of Fire has been rebuked for having a relationship with a 17-year-old pupil.
Economics teacher Hester Barsham-Rolfe, 30, met the boy alone away from lessons at £4,682-a-term Eltham College. She also sent him private messages on Facebook and email after they formed a personal bond by going running together.
It was the running prowess of former pupil Eric Liddell, immortalised in 1981’s Chariots Of Fire, which led to his 400 metres gold medal at the 1924 Paris Olympics. In Miss Barsham-Rolfe’s case, it led to her suspension for abusing her position of trust.
The teacher and pupil shared a love of running, but their friendship developed into an ‘inappropriate relationship’, a teaching disciplinary panel found.
The panel was told the sixth-former, named only as Pupil A, turned to the teacher for ‘emotional support’.
They kept in close contact over a 15-month period from January 2012 to April 2013, even continuing after the boy’s parents confronted her about their relationship.
There was no evidence of any sexual contact between the pair but the panel heard there was ‘the possibility of Ms Barsham-Rolfe and Pupil A having hugged on one occasion’