A FORMER private school teacher who developed a “sexually motivated” relationship with a pupil and ignored instructions to end it has been banned for life from teaching in England.

Igor Zharkov, who worked as an assistant physics teacher at Ardingly College from 2009 until 2017, was subject to a professional conduct hearing carried out by the National College for Teaching and Leadership last month.

Zharkov was found to have formed an inappropriate or romantic relationship with one pupil at the college and an inappropriate relationship with another.

The panel, which published a report of its findings this week, found that Zharkov attempted to conceal his actions and ignored explicit instructions from the school to put an end to the inappropriate relationship he had developed with the first student.

Evidence in the report included Zharkov sending text messages and social media messages to the first girl, as well as telling her he “loved her”, “wanted to have a future with her” and that she was his “soul mate”.

He was said to have tutored the same girl outside school without permission, drove her around in his own vehicle and also met up with her at a hotel.

Other evidence presented in the report included him buying her presents such as Valentine cards, earrings, shoes and flowers.

Zharkov not only formed the first relationship, but also developed another inappropriate relationship with a second pupil who he had sent messages to about the first girl.

The report stated the messages read “it is not sex, not now, not until she is 18 and/or wants it” and “I need to have a romantic relationship with her”.

It also stated he had offered to buy the second pupil presents, met up with her outside school and had tried to give her a mobile phone.

He was proved to have attempted to conceal the relationships by asking them to change his details in their phone contacts list and delete his messages.

The report stated his actions were “sustained and systematic” and the way he conducted himself when developing the relationships was “calculated”.

The panel considered there had been a serious impact on both pupils as a direct consequence of Zharkov’s actions.

The college said after it received referrals from staff in January last year about his conduct, Zharkov was suspended before later being dismissed at a disciplinary hearing.

Although Zharkov had initially denied engaging in an inappropriate relationship with the first child, he later admitted all the allegations made against him.

He has now been indefinitely banned from teaching in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England.

Zharkov has the right to appeal against the decision within 28 days of being notified of the decision.

Ardingly College headmaster Ben Figgis said: “As demonstrated in our recent inspection, the college maintains the highest standards of safeguarding, and places a very high priority on the welfare and safety of its pupils.

“I am particularly grateful to the teachers and pupils who alerted us to the conduct of Zharkov, as those disclosures enabled the college management to take timely and effective disciplinary action against him when his behaviour came to light.

“It is essential that all schools are places in which all children are safe and secure, and in which a high level of trust is maintained between teachers, students and parents.”