Primary depute head struck off by GTCS for risque content via website set up in her name

1st April 2011 at 01:00
Videos containing sexual content could be accessed through site set up by husband

A former primary depute headteacher from Dundee has been struck off by the General Teaching Council for Scotland after inappropriate content was found via a website set up in her name.

The disciplinary committee of the GTCS removed Linda Ross, 59, of Forfar, from its register after hearing that video clips containing sexual content could be accessed through links on www.linda ross.co.uk, a site set up in her name by her husband.

The clips were said to include themes such as the seduction of pupils and paedophile teachers. The site is no longer live.

The committee accepted her husband ran the site, but was satisfied that on balance Mrs Ross was the registrant of the website and aware of the "inappropriate material" on it. It said the nature of her conduct fell short of the standard expected of a registered teacher. Mrs Ross did not attend the hearing in Edinburgh.

Her husband initially set up the site in 2007 to alert people to violent attacks his wife had reportedly suffered at Dundee's Sidlaw View Primary. He said staff were being verbally and physically attacked and threatened with violence by parents. The website also contained material to assist teachers who faced problems in the classroom, including the link to a YouTube clip entitled "A classroom management plan that works".

After undergoing a disciplinary process by Dundee City Council, Mrs Ross was suspended from her depute's post in 2007 and moved to Longhaugh Primary. In June 2008, she was suspended again over the content of the website, and five months later dismissed.

Mrs Ross appealed against the decision and has since taken the council to an employment tribunal, claiming unfair dismissal. These proceedings are still ongoing, and her lawyer, John Muir, expects them to come to a close in about 10 weeks.

He told TESS he had been trying to persuade the GTCS to postpone its hearing pending the outcome of the tribunal, as the charges were identical to four of the allegations that led to her dismissal and all the evidence had been gathered by Dundee City Council.

"If Mrs Ross had lost the tribunal, how could she persuade the GTCS to find otherwise and what would be the point in incurring the legal expense?" Mr Muir said.

He said his client had formally retired from teaching.

Mrs Ross said: "I would question how any independent committee could come to the conclusion that the GTCS did, but now I must concentrate on clearing my name at the employment tribunal."

julia.belgutay@tes.co.uk.

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