The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Enhancing professionalism in education since 1965

General Teaching Council for Scotland Fitness to Teach Panel Outcome

Procedural Hearing - Removal with Consent

14 August 2017

 Respondent  Bruce Rankin (not present)
 Registration number  810093
 Registration category  Secondary - Physical Education
 Panel  John Kilpatrick (Convener), Lynda Danziel, Arthur Stewart
 Legal Assessor  Gareth Jones
 Servicing Officer  Dani Tovey/Vivien Whyte
 Presenting Officer  Fiona Macdonald (not present)

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
  • the "Rules" (and any related expression) means the GTCS Fitness to Teach and Appeals Rules 2012; and
  • the "Register" means the GTCS register of teachers
 

Background

The Respondent indicated to GTCS that he wished to be removed from the Register in view of the allegation made against him relating to his fitness to teach.  In accordance with Rule 3.7.1, he was issued with a Removal with Consent Order.  This Order has been signed and returned by the Respondent.  In it, he made the following declaration:

On 31 March 2017, at Hamilton Sheriff Court, you were convicted of the following offences:

On various occasions between 1 December 2010 and 31 December 2012, both dates inclusive at a location in Strathaven you did sexually assault a child in that you did handle her v***** and her body;

CONTRARY to the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009, Section 3

On an occasion between 1 August 2012 and 30 June 2013, both dates inclusive, you did sexually assault a female in that you did handle her body, and you did intentionally direct a sexual verbal communication at her in that you made a sexual remark to her;

CONTRARY to Section 3 and 7(1) of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009

On 29 June 2014, you did sexually assault a female, in that you did handle her body and v*****;

CONTRARY to Section 20 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009

You were sentenced to a Community Payback Order for a period of 3 years and subjected to Sex Offender’s notification requirements for a period of 3 years.

Proceeding in the absence

The Respondent did not attend the hearing and was not represented at it.  In accordance with rule 1.7.7, the Panel had to consider: a) whether notice of the hearing had been served on the Respondent in accordance with the Rules; and, b) whether or not the hearing should proceed in his absence.  The Panel referred to the guidance given in the GTCS Postponement, Adjournments and Proceeding in the Absence practice statement. 

The Notice of Procedural Hearing had been sent to the Respondent’s registered postal address by recorded delivery post on 4 August 2017.  The Panel had sight of a Royal Mail Track proof of delivery document confirming that the notice had been signed for on 8 August 2017.  Accordingly, the Panel was satisfied that the notice had been served in accordance with the Rules.

There had been no response received from the Respondent to the notice of hearing.  The Panel was aware that GTCS did not hold an email address or personal contact telephone number for the Respondent and so could not use alternative forms of contact to confirm whether or not he intended to attend the hearing.  However, the Panel was satisfied that it was appropriate to proceed with the hearing in his absence.  The notice had been received and the purpose of the hearing was to decide whether or not to accept the Order signed by the Respondent.  It was clear that he admitted the allegations and sought to be removed from the Register.  Accordingly, the Panel was satisfied that it was unlikely that he would attend a further hearing should this hearing be postponed.  The Panel was satisfied that the Respondent had waived his right to attend the hearing.

Decision

In light of the Respondent’s consent to remove his name from the Register (as set out in his declaration above) and in accordance with Rule 3.7.4, the Panel decided to direct that his name be so removed.
 
Once the Respondent’s name has been removed from the Register, his name remains so removed unless and until an application for re-registration is made by him and a Fitness to Teach Panel directs that the application be granted.  Again, in light of the consent that the Respondent provided, the Panel directed that he should be prohibited from making an application for re-registration for a period of two years from the date of removal. 

Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007

The Panel decided to exercise its discretion to make a referral under section 8 of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 in order that Scottish Ministers may consider whether or not the Respondent should be barred from working with children or protected adults.  The Panel decided to do so because it considered that a referral ground set out in section 2 of that Act is met in that the Respondent has engaged in inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature involving a child.

Appeal

The Respondent will receive written notice of this decision within 14 days and has the right to appeal to the Court of Session against the decision within 28 days of the date of service of that written notice.  The Respondent’s name will remain on the Register until the appeal period has expired and any appeal lodged within that period has been determined.