Ipswich/ Colchester: Senior female teacher Suzanne Harrison admits sexual activity with 15-year-old girl she taught

A SENIOR female teacher from Suffolk is facing a possible jail term after pleading guilty to engaging in sexual activity with a teenage pupil she taught in Essex.

Suzanne Harrison, a former director of progression at Suffolk One in Ipswich, admitted four sex offences against the 15-year-old girl over a seven-month period.

The offences are believed to have been committed while she was working at a former school in Colchester.

Harrison also previously taught at Otley College before joining Suffolk One in Scrivener Drive, Ipswich, which has hundreds of students aged 16 to 19.

A spokesman for Suffolk One branded the charges “indefensible” and moved to reassure parents that pupil safety was their “utmost priority”.

Harrison, a geography teacher, was suspended after being arrested and charged on July 8, but she resigned on July 20, the day before she was due to face an internal disciplinary hearing.

Her case will now be referred to the Independent Safeguarding Authority and the General Teaching Council.

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Harrison, 38, of Wacker Field Road, Rendlesham, sobbed throughout yesterday’s hearing at Ipswich Crown Court. She pleaded guilty to two charges of sexually touching a female under 16, one count of sexual touching involving penetration, and a charge of engaging in sexual activity with a female under 16 while in a position of trust between December 1, 2005, and July 31, 2006.

Richard Atchley, for Harrison, asked for probation reports to be completed before she is sentenced.

He said: “This is an unusual and sad case. This (case) does not necessarily mean a custodial sentence.

“I will therefore be asking the probation service to look, in particular, at what alternative (sentence) they think will be appropriate.”

Judge David Goodin said the report would look at her circumstances, background, attitude towards her offences and the risk she presented of committing further crimes. He said a prison term could not be ruled out.

Harrison refused to comment when she left the court. Still in tears, she got into a waiting car, accompanied by her solicitor Hugh Rowland, before being driven off.

After the hearing, the Suffolk One spokesman said: “We can state that the charges like the ones being faced are indefensible.

“The alleged was comprehensively CRB checked and references were checked in accordance with Suffolk County Council and local authorities.

“We can confirm that the allegations relating to the former employee occurred whilst they were employed at an organisation in Essex over five years ago.

“We have fully co-operated with police throughout this investigation and will continue to do so.

“And we would like to reassure parents and guardians that our students safety, security and welfare is our utmost priority.”

Harrison was released on unconditional bail until her sentencing, which due to take place on Friday, September 2.