Teacher struck off over indecent images

25th January 2013 at 00:00
Removal from register follows child pornography conviction

A history teacher has been struck off the teaching register after he was found to have possessed thousands of indecent images of children.

Peter McFarlane, 48, had also been convicted of driving with more than twice the legal amount of alcohol in his system and damaging another person's car with a knife.

He was found guilty at Airdrie Sheriff Court last June of possessing indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children in May 2010. McFarlane, from Coatbridge, was given a 200-hour community service order and placed on the Sex Offenders Register.

He possessed 2,470 such images in all, procurator fiscal depute Gordon Crawford told the General Teaching Council for Scotland this month.

In August 2010, while on bail, he had cut the seat belts in another person's car, struck the seats with a knife and slashed a tyre.

On the same day, he drove an unregistered car while over the drink-drive limit.

He was convicted of both offences in April 2011 and fined #163;400 and #163;500, respectively.

His case was considered by the GTCS's fitness to teach panel last week, a hearing he did not attend.

It noted that McFarlane's appeal against the conviction for possessing indecent images had failed, and, in striking him off, described his conduct as "fundamentally incompatible" with being a teacher.

The panel decided, under the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007, to refer McFarlane's case to Scottish ministers, who will consider whether he should be barred from working with children.

The referral was made on the basis that he had placed a child at risk of harm and engaged in inappropriate conduct involving pornography.

In a separate case, a Highland geography teacher has been reprimanded after making upsetting remarks to colleagues and pupils and acting in an intimidating manner.

William Forrest, who was working at a special school, Bridgend Education Centre, in Alness, made personal remarks to staff and pupils on various occasions between March and September 2011. In particular, he criticised the eating habits of one staff member and one pupil.

In the same period, he was found to have acted in an aggressive, angry and intimidating manner towards staff. On one occasion, he shouted at a colleague - the same staff member whose eating habits he had criticised - while she was dealing with a pupil.

Mr Forrest was also found to have behaved in a way designed to undermine, obstruct and frustrate fellow staff. He regularly sought to work in isolation and undermine colleagues' instructions.

Mr Forrest, who did not appear before the GTCS's fitness to teach panel or explain his actions in any way, has been reprimanded for 18 months. His conduct was not deemed serious enough for him to be struck off.

henry.hepburn@tess.co.uk.

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