Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Information about teacher-student friendships

This may sound like a strange question, but in short, I'm writing a story which features a teacher-student friendship and I wanted to know more about the law regarding the boundaries of how involved a teacher can be in a student's life.

The child is 14 and the teacher is in his early 30s. The teacher invites the child over to his flat (to give him a safe environment away from his stressful home life), gives him gifts like a laptop, invites him to a New Year's party, drives him to school etc.

From what I've mentioned, would there be anything here that would cause the teacher to be fired/suspended for crossing the boundaries? I'll mention that the headteacher does have suspicions that something strange is going on, and there are some rumours going around the students that suggest a sexual relationship.

Thank you for reading.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Although you’re writing this as a story that’s not real, it would be important to know what to do if something like this ever does happen in real life. It’s never okay for a teacher to act in this way with you or someone you know.

Teachers have to follow a professional and personal code of conduct, which is set by the government. The code of conduct is like a set of rules which all teachers are expected to follow as part of their work with students. 

Even though it looks from the outside like the teacher is trying to help, that may not be how it really is. The teacher should know that it’s not okay to invite students round to their home and to parties, unless they already know them outside of school as a family friend or relative. If this teacher really wanted to help, they should involve their headteacher and work towards changing their situation.

It’s unusual for an adult to give expensive gifts to a young person unless they are close family or friends. If someone is doing this, you should ask questions about what it is the adult could want in return. It’s possible it’s entirely innocent, but it’s one sign that things might not be okay.

If the teacher had nothing to hide and is doing nothing wrong, they should be okay with the headteacher knowing about it. If you ever see this in real life, it would be okay to tell the headteacher what you know. If they’re doing nothing wrong then they shouldn’t need to hide it. Anytime an adult wants a relationship kept secret, alarm bells should start ringing in your head.

The teacher in the story is definitely crossing boundaries and anyone doing this in real life should know that what they are doing is not okay. Telling someone about it is the best thing to do. If you didn’t feel able to do that in person, you can call ChildLine and tell us anonymously and we will make sure the right people know. I hope I have answered your questions. 

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter