The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Enhancing professionalism in education since 1965

General Teaching Council for Scotland Fitness to Teach Panel Outcome

Panel Consideration Outcome

30 August 2017

 Teacher  XXXXXXXX
 Registration number  XXXXXXXX
 Registration category  Secondary
 Panel  Tony Bragg (Convener), Karen Lothian, Paul Walker
 Legal Assessor  James Mulgrew
 Servicing Officer  Gillian Sim
 Respondent's representative Alastair Milne, Balfour + Manson LLP

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 Rules 2017 or refers to a provision (or provisions) within them.
  • the "Register" means the GTCS register of teachers; or
  • "COPAC" means the GTCS Code of Professionalism and Conduct

Notification of meeting

The Panel had before it a copy of the notice dated 22 November 2016. The Panel was satisfied that the Teacher had been provided with notice of the meeting in accordance with rules 1.6 and 2.3.1. Accordingly, the Panel proceeded to consider the case.

Preliminary matters

No preliminary matters were dealt with by the Panel.

Allegation(s)

  1. Convicted of a contravention of Road Traffic Act 1988, Section 5(1)(a) – drink driving– on XXXXXX 2016.
  2. Information available to the panel

    1. Case investigation form dated 18 November 2016.
    2. Notice of referral to Investigating Panel dated 22 November 2016.
    3. Additional information letter dated 23 January 2017.
    4. Telephone note dated 16 September 2016.
    5. Extract conviction report from XXXXXX Sheriff Court dated 19 January 2017.
    6. XXXXX Council investigatory report Appendix I.
    7. XXXXX Council investigatory report Appendix III.
    8. XXXXX Council investigatory report Appendix VI.
    9. Notification of new Fitness to Teach Rules (2017) email dated 25 July 2017.
    10. Notification of new Fitness to Teach Rules (2017) email deliver receipt dated 25 July 2017.
    11. Response dated 23 August 2017.

    Teacher's response

The Teacher's representative advised the Panel that the Teacher admitted the allegation

Summary of evidence and submissions

The Teacher had pleaded guilty to a charge of drink driving at Sheriff Court on 2016. At the time of the offence her alcohol reading was 5 times higher than the legal limit. She had been involved in a road traffic accident which resulted in the offence coming to light. She was sentenced on 2016. She was disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for a period of 16 months. She was also fined the sum of £400.

Decision

The Panel considered all of the information available to it as described above. The Panel had a range of options open to it, as set out at rule 2.3.2 (a) to (f). The Panel had regard to the factors set out in the GTCS Panel Consideration Practice Statement.

The Panel did not consider it appropriate to dispose of the case in accordance with rule 2.3.2 (a). The Panel reached this conclusion for the following reasons:

  • The matter amounts to relevant conduct and there is on the face of it, a real prospect of a finding that the Teacher’s fitness to teach is impaired. The Panel considered the following factors relevant in that the conduct alleged relates to:
  1. Substance abuse or mis-use
  2. Other serious activites which cause harm and affect public confidence

The Panel considered the relevant Parts of COPAC to be:

  1. Part 1- Professionalism and maintaining trust in the profession
  • The matter has not already been considered
  • The matter is not frivolous or vexatious.
  • The allegation has not been made anonymously or by a person who has failed to cooperate with the investigation.

The Panel did not consider it appropriate to dismiss the case on the basis of an insufficiency of evidence as provided for by rule 2.3.2(b) as it had sight of the extract conviction from XXXXX Court. The allegation has been admitted by the Teacher. Furthermore, the Panel did not consider the referral to be malicious.

Fitness to Teach

The Panel carefully considered all of the available information and had regard to Part A of the GTCS Fitness to Teach Conduct Cases – Indicative Outcomes Guidance in considering whether the Teacher’s fitness to teach is currently impaired.

Given the Teacher’s admission of the allegation the Panel required to make a determination of her Fitness to Teach. The Panel noted the high alcohol reading and background to the admitted conduct. The Panel agreed that at the time, the behaviour fell below the expectations set out in Parts 1.3 and 1.4 of CoPaC. The Panel also had regard to the Teacher’s health issues which were long standing in nature. However, the Panel also noted the fact that the Teacher had admitted the conduct to her employer shortly after the incident and had been honest and genuine throughout. She had thereafter pled guilty to the allegation at court when prosecuted for it. The Teacher had shown insight into the conduct and had also soughtassistance from various health professionals and other agencies including Alcoholics Anonymous. She had been abstinent from alcohol since March 2017. However, the Panel agreed that whilst the Teacher was making progress, the behaviour had not been fully remediated.

For these reasons, the Panel concluded that the Teacher’s fitness to teach is currently impaired.

Disposal

As the Panel concluded that the Teacher’s fitness to teach is currently impaired, it moved on to consider the appropriate disposal of the case. In considering this matter the Panel had regard to Part B of the GTCS Fitness to Teach Conduct Cases – Indicative Outcomes Guidance. In line with that guidance, the Panel considered the available options from least to most severe. The Panel noted that not all indicating factors required to be present for a disposal option to be considered appropriate. In reaching its decision the Panel had regard to the particular circumstances of the case, the interest of the teacher and the public interest.

Having had regard to those factors the Panel decided that the Teacher should be made the subject of a Conditional Registration Order and Reprimand for a period of two years. The conditions which the Teacher must comply with are as follows:-

  1. You must attend regularly meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and must provide GTC Scotland Fitness to Teach Department with evidence of such attendance on a monthly basis.
  2. You must provide GTC Scotland Fitness to Teach Department with written reports from your GP on a monthly basis which state that you are participating in and responding positively to alcohol rehabilitation treatment.
  3. If you have been employed during the preceding period, you must provide to GTCS Scotland a report from your employer specifying that there have been no concerns relating to any misuse of alcohol by you annually and within seven days of:-
  1. 20 August
  2. 20 December,
  3. 20 January, and
  4. 20 June
  5. The Panel concluded that was a fair and appropriate way of dealing with the case. It indicates to the public and profession the gravity of the conduct whilst allowing the Teacher to retain her registration and maintain her fitness to teach by specifying measures which will allow her ongoing fitness to teach to be supported and monitored.

    Having identified the appropriate disposal, the Panel decided to issue a consent order in accordance with rule 2.7. The terms of the consent order are set out in the separate “Consent Order” document.