Recent cases heard by the General Teaching Council for Scotland’s fitness-to-teach panel include a headteacher who was sacked after getting drunk with students on a school trip and telling a male pupil to “put his body away as it was too sexy” and a French teacher barred from the classroom for sleeping with a pupil after the school prom.
Gillian Rew, former head of Arbroath High, fought to have her case heard in private but the request was refused.
Information published on the GTCS website suggests that she was seeking help for an alcohol problem. She was “in a state of extreme psychological distress” in 2014 when the S6 excursion took place, it was claimed.
The EIS, Scotland’s largest teaching union, has called for the GTCS to censor its public reports. A teacher could appear in a court of law with no published decision but the GTCS publishes a full decision, EIS assistant secretary Drew Morrice told TESS.
However, while teachers fear that such incidents generate a negative picture of the profession, in fact they have little effect on public opinion, a recent GTCS survey suggests.
Only 3 per cent of the 1,000 members of the public polled in 2014 said that they remembered a specific case that had gone before the GTCS; 18 per cent recalled seeing some media coverage but were unsure of the details.
The researchers therefore went on to conclude: “Teachers’ concerns over poor media coverage are not shared with the general public at large.”