Teacher at Rugby School suspended after ‘engaging in sexual banter with female student’

27 September 2023, 07:09

Jocelyn D’Arcy was suspended from Rugby School in Warwickshire,
Jocelyn D’Arcy was suspended from Rugby School in Warwickshire,. Picture: Supplied/Alamy

By StephenRigley

A housemistress at a prestigious public school was suspended after being accused of engaging in “sexual banter” with a female student and giving alcohol to sixth-formers.

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Jocelyn D’Arcy was escorting a pupil to a medical appointment and was said to have quipped that they “wouldn’t mind being alone with the doctor” and then advised that “if he asks if you are sexually active, say no, but I’d like to be”.

Rugby School
Rugby School. Picture: Alamy

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Officials at £42,000-a-year Rugby School eventually suspended D’Arcy and removed her as housemistress.

The maths teacher, who was educated at Oxford and Cambridge universities, as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, eventually faced 19 allegations of misconduct, The Times reported.

School managers claimed that those incidents had all occurred within the first two months of D’Arcy taking up her position at the school.

It was alleged that the housemistress had caused “fear and distress” among a group of 14-year-olds when she asked one of them to remove her top and angrily threw a mobile phone.

D’Arcy was also accused of having entered a pupil’s room and throwing her dirty washing into the hallway — and of serving sixth-formers alcohol at lunchtime.

She ultimately resigned and sued the school for discrimination, claiming that her behaviour was the result of suffering from ADHD, anxiety and depression.

An employment tribunal has now dismissed the majority of the claims concluding that D’Arcy had exercised “poor judgment” that “seriously called into question her suitability for the housemistress role”.

The tribunal ruled that there was “ample evidence” that the teacher was “not suited to the role”, adding that there had been “several serious errors of judgment including around sex and alcohol”.

The tribunal in Birmingham was told that before joining the school in 2020, D’Arcy had been a successful maths teacher at several “well regarded schools”.

In its report, the tribunal said that the school had received complaints about D’Arcy’s conduct with a group of 14-year-old girls one lunchtime.

There were allegations that the teacher had “asked one of the students in a group to remove her top”, had “thrown a mobile phone and folder in anger” and “accused a student of lying”.

The hearing was also told that D’Arcy had been suspended for “verbally and physically threatening behaviour in the presence of students” and it had investigated a claim she had engaged in “sexual banter” with a student during a visit to the school doctor.

The tribunal judge, Robin Broughton, ruled that most of D’Arcy’s claims were dismissed.

But the tribunal upheld a claim of victimisation relating to the “tone and approach” of the way her grievance had been rejected by the school.

Potential compensation will be decided at a later hearing.