The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Enhancing professionalism in education since 1965

Anonymity Application

Full Hearing

16 July 2018

 Teacher  XXXXX
 Registration number XXXXX
 Registration category  Secondary
 Panel  David Hughes-Hallett (Convener), Frieda Fraser & Arthur Stewart
 Legal Assessor  Gareth Jones
 Servicing Officer  Kirsty McIntosh
 Presenting Officer N/A
 Respondent's representative N/A

Any reference in this decision to:

  • “GTCS” means the General Teaching Council for Scotland;
  • the “Panel” means the Fitness to Teach Panel considering the case; and
  • the “Rules” (and any related expression) means the GTCS Fitness to Teach Rules 2017 or refers to a provision (or provisions) within them.
  • Allegation

    At a substantive hearing held on 8 and 9 July 2018 the Panel found that there was no case to answer in respect of the following allegations:

    1. Between April 2012 and April 2014, both dates inclusive, whilst employed as a Head Teacher by Highland Council at XXXXXXXXXXXXXX, you did:
    1. Embezzle the sum of £225 after cashing a cheque (School Fund Cheque number 013936) for £300 and only administering £75 to pupils in respect of a school prize giving;
    2. And in light of your actions at 1(a) above you acted dishonestly by misappropriating the money belonging to your employer.

    And in light of the above, it is alleged that your fitness to teach is impaired and you are unfit to teach, as a result of breaching Parts 1.3, 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6 of the General Teaching Council for Scotland’s Code of Professionalism and Conduct.

    Background

    The Procedural Meeting was arranged to consider the following:

    1. An application by the Teacher for the Teacher’s name to be anonymised in the published decision.

    In accordance with the Rules the meeting was held in private.

    Evidence

    In accordance with rule 1.7.17, the Panel admitted all of the documents listed below as evidence for the purposes of the hearing:

    • An email from the Teacher’s representative dated 10 July 2018 outlining the basis for the anonymity application.
    • An email in response from the Presenting Officer dated 11 July 2018 indicating no opposition to the application.
    • Decision

      The Panel considered all of the written information as well as the relevant rules and the GTCS practice statement on Conducting Hearings in Private.

      As a starting point, the Panel had regard to rule 1.7.3. which provides that a Panel may order that a hearing be conducted in private and may direct that the identities of parties should not be disclosed to the public, by the use of anonymisation or otherwise, whether before, during or after proceedings, where it is in the interests of justice to do so and the particular circumstances of the case outweigh the interest of the Teacher and the public in the hearing being held in public.

      The Teacher’s representative submitted that it would be in the interests of justice for the Teacher’s name to be anonymised in the published decision for all of the reasons set out by her in her email dated 9 July 2018. It was submitted that there was no public interest in publishing the Teacher’s name in light of the Panel’s earlier finding that there was no case to answer in relation to the allegations brought against him. The Panel had arrived at that conclusion having been presented with all of the available evidence at a substantive hearing on 8 and 9 July 2018.

      It was further submitted that publishing the Teacher’s name might have a damaging effect on his career and reputation, notwithstanding the finding that there was no case to answer. The Panel was informed that the Teacher currently works abroad at a school that has an Islamic ethos. It was submitted that publication of the decision without anonymisation might result in the allegation being discoverable upon a key-word-search of the Teacher’s name, which could have adverse consequences for the Teacher should the school take the view that the allegations of themelves bring the school into disrepute. It was submitted that given the serious nature of the allegations, that was a distinct possiblity.

      The Panel was also informed that to date there had has been no publication of the Teacher’s name in connection with the allegations or the proceedings against him and that this was not a case therefore, where the Teacher’s name was already in the public domain.

      In all of the circumstances it was submitted by the Teacher’s representative that the Teacher’s interest in not having his name published in connection with the allegations must outweigh any public interest in revealing the finding of no case to answer against him.

      The Panel carefully considered the submissions made by the Teacher’s representative and had regard to the Conducting Hearings in Private practice statement, which makes it clear that a decision should be reached by carefully and proportionately balancing all of the factors involved in the context of the particular case.

      The Panel also noted that the application for anonymity was unopposed by the Presenting Officer.

      Having carefully balanced all of the relevant factors, the Panel was satisfied that the interest of the Teacher in having the decision anonymised outweighed the public interest. Whilst the allegations were serious in nature there had been a finding of no case to answer in the Teacher’s favour. Furthermore, whilst on one view it might be beneficial to the Teacher to have his name published so that he could be fully and publically exonerated, it was apparent from the information provided by the Teacher’s representative that publishing his name could have a damaging effect on the career that he is currently pursuing abroad. That being the case and bearing in mind also that there has been no publication of the Teacher’s name to date, the Panel agreed that the application for anonymity ought to be allowed.

      For all of these reasons the Panel granted the application for anonymity made on the Teacher’s behalf.

      In keeping with the Panel’s decision to agree for the anonymity application to be allowed it was determined by the Panel that the name of the school should also be redacted as, were this not removed, the Teacher would be easily identifiable.