The General Teaching Council for Scotland

General Teaching Council for Scotland Fitness to Teach Panel Outcome

Panel Consideration Outcome

20 May 2020

 Teacher Robert Reid (not present/unrepresented)
 Registration Number  179243
 Registration category  Secondary Education - Technical Education
 Panel  Christopher Moore, Jacqueline Blair and Gillian Fagan 
 Legal Assessor  James Mulgrew
 Servicing Officer  Hannah Oakley
 Teacher's representative  N/A

Definitions

Any reference in this outcome 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 of Panel Consideration dated 10 March 2020. 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

The Panel did not deal with any preliminary matters. Allegation(s)

  1. On 26 November 2019, at Dumfries Sheriff Court, you, the Teacher, were convicted of the following:
    1. Between 26 November 2018 and 16 August 2019, both dates inclusive, you did take or permit to be taken or make indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children; contrary to the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 Section 52(1)(a);
    2. Between 26 November 2018 and 16 August 2019, both dates inclusive, you did have in your possession indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children; contrary to the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 Section 52A(1)
    3. Between 1 March 2019 and 16 August 2019, both dates inclusive, you did record Person A doing a private act with the intention of enabling yourself or another to look at the image of the said Person A, doing the act in that you did install hidden cameras and cameras disguised as other objects within a bedroom and record her in a state of undress; contrary to Section 9(1) and (4) of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009;
    And on 24 December 2019 you were sentenced to a Community Payback Order of 120 hours unpaid work or activities to be completed within 6 months, and a supervision period lasting 3 years.

Information Available to the Panel

  1. Final Investigation Report, dated 5 March 2020, with appendices including:
    1. Initial referral from Dumfries and Galloway Council, dated 23 August 2019
    2. Email from Crown Office and Prosecution Service dated 15 October 2019
    3. Dumfries and Galloway Council Disciplinary Report including various appendices:
      1. Appendix 2 Proof of Delivery 30 August 2019
      2. Appendix 4 Proof of Delivery 4 October 2019
      3. Appendix 5 Investigatory -Interview Questions
      4. Appendix 6 Mr Robert Reid’ Contact of employment with Dumfries and Galloway Council
      5. Appendix 7 Dumfries and Galloway Council Handbook Section 6.5
    4. Court outcome documentation from Dumfries Sheriff Court
    5. Extract of conviction and copy complaint from Dumfries Sheriff Court
    6. Teacher’s response to TRO application dated 29 October 2019
    7. Interim Report track and trace ‘return to sender’ from Post Office, dated 12 February 2020.
  2. Notices:
    1. Notice of Investigation, dated 21 October 2019
    2. Notice of Investigation cover letter to Scottish Prison Service and Track and Trace delivery receipt, dated 22 October 2019
    3. Notice of Panel Consideration, dated 10 March 2020
    4. Notice of Panel Consideration cover email and delivery receipt, dated 10 March 2020.

Teacher’s response

  1. The Teacher did not formally admit the allegations following service of the Notice of Panel Consideration dated 10 March 2020.
  2. The Teacher did not set out his position in relation to his current Fitness to Teach following service of the Notice of Panel Consideration. The Teacher had earlier indicated to GTCS that he was not unfit to teach.
  3. The Teacher did not set out his position in relation to the appropriate outcome following service of the Notice of Panel Consideration. The Teacher had earlier indicated to GTCS that he wished to be permanently removed from the Register.

Summary of Evidence and Submissions

The Teacher was prosecuted at Dumfries Sheriff Court in relation to charges that are reflected in the allegation. The criminal charges that the Teacher faced included the taking or making of indecent images of children, the possession of indecent images of children and a charge of voyeurism. Following his initial appearance in court in relation to those charges, the Teacher was remanded in custody at HMP Dumfries. The Teacher was then prosecuted on indictment at Dumfries Sheriff Court in relation to this matter. He pleaded guilty at the first diet stage at Dumfries Sheriff Court on 26 November 2019. The charges that he pleaded guilty to are reflected in the allegations noted above. The court deferred sentence on the Teacher until 24 December 2019 in order that the court could obtain a Criminal Justice Social Work Report and a psychological assessment in relation to him. The Teacher was again remanded in custody at HMP Dumfries until the date of the deferred sentence. On 24 December 2019, the court made the Teacher the subject of a Community Payback Order as a direct alternative to a custodial sentence. That order contained two components. The first was that the Teacher was to be supervised for a period of 3 years. Secondly, the Teacher was ordered to perform 120 hours of unpaid work or activities within a period of 6 months.

The Panel had been provided with a copy of the indictment containing the charges that the Teacher faced at Dumfries Sheriff Court. The Panel were also given a copy of the minutes of the court proceedings and an extract conviction confirming the outcome of the Teacher’s prosecution at Dumfries Sheriff Court. The Panel noted from the minutes of court proceedings that the Teacher had pleaded guilty to the charges at Dumfries Sheriff Court which are now reflected in the present allegation. That position is different to the situation where an accused person is convicted (or found guilty) of charges after a trial. The Teacher had admitted his culpability in relation to the criminal charges at Dumfries Sheriff Court.

The Teacher did not formally respond to the Notice of Panel Consideration. The Teacher had earlier responded to GTCS at a different stage of process. On 29 October 2019, the Teacher wrote to GTCS stating that he wished to be permanently removed from the Register. He indicated that this was not necessarily because he was unfit to teach but because he no longer wanted to be a teacher.

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:
    • Sexual misconduct or indecency (including child pornography)
    • Other serious activities which cause harm and affect public confidence

The Panel considered the relevant Parts of COPAC to be:

  • Part 1 – Professionalism and maintaining trust in the profession

Additional factors were considered, as follows:

  • The matter has not already been considered;
  • The matter is not frivolous or vexatious; and
  • The allegation(s) have 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). Furthermore, the Panel did not consider the referral to be malicious.

The Panel noted that the allegation had not been formally admitted by the Teacher following service of the Notice of Panel Consideration. However, the Panel observed that the Teacher had pleaded guilty to the criminal charges at Dumfries Sheriff Court the terms of which are reflected in the allegations. The Panel considered the terms of Rules 1.7.18 and 1.7.19 in relation to cases where a teacher had been convicted of a criminal offence. In such cases the Rules stipulate that an extract conviction will be conclusive proof of the conviction. An extract conviction had been produced in this case. Accordingly, the Panel proceeded on the basis that the allegations had been admitted, or at least had otherwise been deemed proved.

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 Practice Statement in considering whether the Teacher’s fitness to teach is currently impaired.

The Panel determined that the facts found proved meant that the Teacher’s conduct at the time fell short of the expected professional standards. The Teacher had been convicted on indictment under solemn criminal procedure of serious criminal offences which were sexual in nature. The Panel concluded that the Teacher’s conduct amounted to a breach of Parts 1.3, 1.4 and 1.6 of COPAC.

The Panel acknowledged that there was no history of this type of conduct, but the allegation was very serious. Although the Teacher had admitted the conduct at Dumfries Sheriff Court when he pleaded guilty to the criminal offences, he had not admitted the conduct formally during the GTCS process. Further, no evidence had been produced by him of insight, remediation or remorse. The Teacher had responded to GTCS at an earlier stage. However, the Panel viewed that response as failing to recognise the impact that his conduct had upon his Fitness to Teach which the Panel observed extends beyond the Teacher’s competence.

In those circumstances, the Panel concluded that the shortfalls identified by the Teacher’s conduct were not remediable. Further, the Panel concluded that no evidence had been presented that would allow it to say that the risk of reoccurrence is low. The Panel also considered the public interest in relation to this matter. The Panel judged the public interest to be high in this case. In particular, the Panel considered the need to protect members of the public, in particular, children and young people, in both the teaching setting and beyond. The Panel concluded that the Teacher’s conduct had fallen significantly short of the standards expected of a Teacher and that the conduct was fundamentally incompatible with being a registered Teacher.

For these reasons, the Panel concluded that the Teacher is currently unfit to teach.

Disposal

As the Panel determined that the Teacher is unfit to teach, in accordance with the terms of Article 18(2)(b) of the Public Services Reform (General Teaching Council for Scotland) Order 2011, it could only direct that the Teacher be removed from the Register.

The Panel had regard to the Teacher’s position and decided to issue a Removal with Consent Order in accordance with Rule 2.7, offering the Teacher the opportunity to consent to removal from the Register. Should such consent be provided, the Panel considered 2 years an appropriate period before the Teacher be able to apply for re-registration. That was due to the nature and seriousness of the conduct and the disposal imposed at Dumfries Sheriff Court on 24 December 2019. The terms of the Consent Order are set out in the separate ‘Consent Order’ document.