The Teacher ending explained: Who frames Jenna and is there a season 2?

The Channel 5 drama has earnt new fans since dropping on Netflix.

a promo shot of The Teacher with Sheridan Smith and Kelvin Fletcher posing
(Image credit: Future/Channel5)

Netflix viewers want The Teacher ending explained - as the finale of the gripping Channel 5 original leaves many with unanswered questions.

The teacher-student relationship storyline is one audiences have seen play out on screen many times before. But it's the final twist in Channel 5's The Teacher that sets it apart from other dramas in it's field. It stars Sheridan Smith as Jenna - a secondary school teacher who finds her world turned upside down after a student accuses her of sexual assault. With a hazy memory of the night in question, Jenna initially pleads guilty to the charges brought against her - but it's a sudden change of heart from the alleged victim that leads to the whole nasty truth finally coming to light. The thrilling show has viewers asking questions - including where is The Teacher filmed (opens in new tab) - and here we delve into The Teacher ending and unveil the person behind the plot. 

Fans of Sheridan Smith can catch her in new drama Rosie Malloy Gives Up Everything (opens in new tab) this December, that sees the actress return to her comedy roots. 2022 has certainly proved to be another busy year for the British screen star, who put in an emotional performance in ITV's No Return (opens in new tab), which dropped shortly after The Teacher aired in February 2022.

The Teacher ending explained

It turns out that ex-teacher and Jenna's former colleague Arnold Cleary framed Jenna. Jenna worked with Cleary at a previous school and reported him for grooming a female pupil at the time - which led to Cleary going to prison. Following his release, Cleary sought revenge on Jenna.

Post-prison life, Cleary integrated himself back into Jenna's life - albeit discreetly. He created a new identity for himself as Brian, dating and becoming the boyfriend of  Jenna's co-worker Pauline. It is Pauline who then goes on to suggest Cleary (or 'Brian') as a tutor for Kyle (played by Samuel Bottomley).

a still of Sheridan Smith from The Teacher ending

(Image credit: Channel 5)

Cleary establishes a friendship with Kyle whilst tutoring him and convinces him to frame Jenna. To make the accusations seem realistic Cleary pressures Kyle to send racy photographs of himself to Jenna, to make it look like Jenna was grooming him. Cleary also gives him a burner phone for them to communicate over.

Kyle ends up at the club on that fateful night, under Cleary's instructions. He pretends he is going to be sick to lure Jenna into the toilets to capture her on CCTV with him and make it seem as if she's taken him away to have sex.

As Jenna was drunk and has a limited memory of the events that night, she initially pleads guilty. However, as the seriousness of the situation becomes clear to Kyle, the young student starts to get cold feet over Cleary's plan and Jenna's prosecution. He later confesses to lying about what happened that night and suggests he did it for the "street cred". But Kyle's burner phone is later discovered by teachers and the truth - as ever - comes out.

a still of Sheridan Smith and Samuel Bottomley from The Teacher ending

(Image credit: Channel 5)

Aware that his revenge plan is crumbling, Cleary then uses Pauline's phone to text Jenna and get her to come over. When she arrives she is greeted by Cleary who explains everything. 

In a tense stand off between the pair, he tells Jenna how she ruined his life and how he wanted to do the same to her. Losing his job and family, and being sent to prison, he tells Jenna that whilst he was in a relationship with the 16-year-old pupil back in the day - they never had sex. Cleary suggests that this is unlike Jenna who must have been craving some sort of trouble in her life and deep down wanted to do something with Kyle. As things come to a head, Cleary then runs from the house.

Jenna finds Cleary waiting for her outside at her car, ready to berate her further. As his berage of abuse continues, Jenna tells him that she refuses to let the incident define her and will move on with her life, instead of wallowing like he did. Cleary, startled by her comments, then runs and throws himself under a passing truck - dying upon impact.

 

What is the connection between Kyle and Arnold in The Teacher?

For those wondering how Kyle and Arnold Cleary knew each other - it is revealed in the final that Cleary became Kyle's tutor and manipulated him into carrying out the plot against Jenna.

The two communicated via burner phones, with Kyle following Cleary's instructions -until eventually the guilt got the better of him and Kyle confessed to making up the entire assault allegation.

The Teacher ending - fan reactions

It's fair to say that The Teacher ending received mixed reviews from audiences online. Some felt that the finale was too confusing and let down what was otherwise a good series. Whilst others praised Sheridan Smith's performance and believed it was a must-watch piece of television

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The finale also never cleared up whether Jenna ever cleared her name following the allegations. And some viewers were annoyed that it left questions like this unanswered. Then again, not everyone agreed.

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Will there be The Teacher season 2?

Channel 5 have not officially confirmed if a second season of The Teacher will go ahead. However it's quite unlikely it will return, seeing as the narrative was pretty much all wrapped up in the final episode.

The show also originally premiered in January 2022 and there was no announcement of a season 2 immediately after the release - when demand for another series was probably at it's highest. This being said, with The Teacher now available to watch on Netflix and growing in popularity, you can never say never.

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Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.