Past crimes catch up with probationer refused entry to register

11th September 2009 at 01:00
Teaching graduate not allowed join profession

A teaching graduate, who was due to start her probation last month, has been told by the General Teaching Council for Scotland she cannot join the profession because of crimes she committed in the past.

Dawn Munro told the GTCS disciplinary sub-committee that she informed staff at Stirling University in 2006 about her previous convictions, including one for withdrawing hundreds of pounds using someone else's bank card. She claimed university staff said her convictions were unlikely to prevent her becoming a teacher.

She admitted, however, the university had stressed the decision lay ultimately with the GTCS and advised her to get in touch with it. She failed to do so and earlier this week, at a disciplinary hearing, was refused admission to the teaching register.

Following the verdict, Richard Edwards, head of the Stirling Institute of Education, called for the GTCS to give a formal view on the suitability of students when they embarked on their studies rather than when they finished - "perhaps through a student registration process".

Ms Munro, who cried throughout the hearing, admitted she and a friend had withdrawn pound;1,200 between April 2004 and January 2005 from the account of a man for whom her friend was employed as a carer. As a single mother of two girls, then aged six and 13, she said she was struggling financially at the time. She had also been fined in 2002 for failing to pay her TV licence and her car road tax.

The disciplinary sub-committee held that Ms Munro was not a fit and proper person to be registered as a teacher because the public placed "a high degree of trust" in teachers.

It also took into consideration letters from Ms Munro to the council which "failed to adequately acknowledge her personal culpability".

- A special needs teacher, who turned herself into the police after having sex with a 15-year-old pupil at her home in Aberdeen, has been struck off by the GTCS. Delivering the disciplinary sub-committee's unanimous decision, convener James Thewliss said Alison Smith had committed a "grave breach of trust" and her actions had "harmed a child". The committee removed her name from the register and recommended she be banned from working with children.

Jamie Cant, a Dundee-based PE teacher who had previously been caught in possession of cocaine, has been struck off by the GTCS following a second conviction - this time for breach of the peace.

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