Skip to main content

Headbutt maths teacher escapes classroom ban

A maths teacher who headbutted a fellow shinty player after a match will remain in the profession

Headbutt maths teacher escapes classroom ban

A male maths teacher who headbutted an opponent at the end of a shinty match and was found to have behaved in an intimidating and aggressive manner towards a female colleague has been allowed to remain in the profession.

Liam MacIntyre received a 12-month conditional registration order and reprimand from teaching watchdog the General Teaching Council for Scotland after a fitness-to-teach hearing heard that he used a "shockingly loud and aggressive voice" to remonstrate with the head of the English faculty, who had intervened after hearing shouting coming from his classroom.

Mr MacIntyre was also accused of breaching South Lanarkshire Council’s code of conduct for failing to report two criminal convictions, including one for resisting arrest in 2008 and spitting in the face of a policeman, and another for headbutting a member of the opposing team after a shinty match in 2014.

However, Mr MacIntyre – who completed his probationary year in 2006 and has been teaching for 13 years – said he did not know he had to report the convictions.

Mr MacIntyre told the GTCS fitness-to-teach panel that he headbutted the opposition player after approaching the referee to discuss an assault on one of his players during the match, which he believed should have resulted in a red card.

His actions, however, angered the other team and he became surrounded by their players which led to a confrontation and a headbutt which resulted in severe injury to an opponent.

Mr MacIntyre blamed his past misdemeanours on “severe bullying” in his childhood, which meant that he was quick to lose his temper.

His emotional difficulties were still apparent today, he said, in that if he felt someone was abusing their position of power he developed “an acute sense of unfairness”, which he found “difficult to manage”.

He admitted behaving in an intimidating and aggressive manner towards the head of the English faculty in 2015, while working as a full-time cover teacher for South Lanarkshire Council.

However, he said that, while his voice was raised with a pupil during the same incident – the pupil had refused to put her mobile phone away – he denied being angry or aggressive towards her and said he kept a safe distance from the pupil “in order to avoid being intimidating”. This allegation involving the pupil was not proven.

The head of English said Mr MacIntyre was “consistently aggressive” and that she was “very shaken” by what had happened.

Nevertheless, she agreed with Mr MacIntyre that his aggression was directed towards her for “undermining him”, not the pupil.

Mr MacIntyre described his behaviour as “inexcusable” and indicated that he “deeply regretted” what he had done. 

The fitness-to-teach panel said the criminal convictions were “plainly serious” and did “fall significantly short of the standards expected of a registered teacher”.

The panel said it was satisfied that Mr MacIntyre had become embroiled in a disagreement with the pupil but it concluded his behaviour had not been aggressive or intimidating. It said that while his behaviour towards his colleague had been “clearly unpleasant”, there had been no repetition of that type of behaviour since.

The panel also noted the character references it had received attesting to Mr MacIntyre’s “professionalism and skills as a teacher” and the fact that he had sought help and had taken “significant steps towards remediating the shortfalls identified”.

Ultimately, the panel decided to place Mr MacIntyre on a 12-month conditional registration order and reprimand, which means he must engage in appropriate support from for example “a psychologist, counsellor or mindfulness practitioner” and work with a trusted school-based mentor for a year.

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you