Councillor David Kirk, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for children’s services, said: “Hampshire County Council guidelines will be followed which means we will be carrying out an internal inquiry to determine if any further action is required.

Eve Ritchie-Fallon’s suspension will continue until the outcome of that inquiry.”

Mrs Ritchie-Fallon was last night backed by Hythe county councillor Brian Dash, chairman of the Forest Education Centre’s management board, who said it was “a shame” the centre had lost a dedicated manager.

He said: “I have worked with Eve for many years. She was a very successful manager of the Forest Education Centre who had a previously good record wherever she worked.

“It has been a very difficult time for the centre and staff have rallied round magnificently. It is a great relief that she has been acquitted but the shame is that we lost a highly competent centre manager.

“Eve turned the school around from being in special measures to getting a good Ofsted report with some outstanding features. She did a great deal for the centre. It is not easy dealing with disaffected young people – you need really dedicated people prepared to tackle the issues head on and that is Eve in a nutshell.”

Ron Clooney, of the NASUWT teachers’ union, said the system was flawed and needed to be changed.

He said: “If a child points the finger it’s almost as if the teacher must then prove their innocence, whereas the law says innocent until proven guilty.

While I believe all accusations must be taken seriously at the outset, and be investigated fully, it seems something is very wrong, somewhere along the line.

“A teacher can end up with her name dragged through the mud while if it’s proven the pupil’s allegation is unfounded nothing will happen to him.”

Mr Clooney called for anonymity for teachers until proven guilty.