Panel Meeting – Admissibility Application – Kirsten Macneil

TeacherKirsten Macneil
Date22 March 2023
Registration number003066
Registration CategoryPrimary Education
PanelGillian Fagan, Catriona McDonald and Jacqueline Blair
Legal AssessorGraeme Henderson
Servicing OfficerAga Adamczyk
Presenting OfficerGary Burton, Anderson Strathern
Teacher’s RepresentativeChris Dunn, Clyde and Co


Any reference in this decision to:

  • ‘GTC Scotland’ 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.


The Procedural Meeting was arranged to consider the following:

  • Procedural application for redactions to the hearing bundle, dated 6 February 2023.


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

  • Procedural application for redactions to the hearing bundle, dated 6 February 2023, submitted by the Teacher’s Representative
  • Presenting Officer’s Submissions, dated 6 March 2023
  • Supplementary comments by the Teacher’s Representative, dated 7 March 2023 Presenting Officer’s Full Hearing Papers.

Preliminary Matters

The Panel carefully considered the terms of Rule 2.5.1:

At any stage of proceedings, a Panel of its own volition, on the Convener’s direction or upon the application of a party (in such form as may be specified by the Servicing Officer), may:

(a) determine any interim or preliminary matter that has arisen in the case;

(b) resolve any issues of law; or

(c) consider an application for a case to be cancelled.

Unless a party has (in the relevant application) requested that a procedural hearing be held or a Panel considers that such a hearing is necessary in the particular circumstances, the above matters will be considered by a Panel at a meeting based on the written representations made by the parties in compliance with case management directions set for this purpose.

The Panel noted that the Parties did not request that procedural hearing be held. Further to this, the Panel considered that a procedural hearing was not necessary. Therefore, the Panel proceeded to consider the matter on the papers.


As currently drafted, the Teacher is facing the following allegations:

1.  Between August 2016 and September 2019, whilst employed as Headteacher by Highland Council at Gledfield Primary School, the Teacher did:

(a) Between August 2016 and December 2017 fail to act upon multiple child protection concerns which were shared with the Teacher by professional colleagues, namely Colleague C and Colleague D, in respect of Colleague A’s treatment of children in her class including:

(i) Colleague A shouting at pupils in an aggressive and intimidating manner and causing them distress and humiliation;

(ii) Colleague A bullying and intimidating a pupil by refusing to allow him out on break and lunch and keeping him back at the end of the school day without communicating this to his parents;

(iii) Colleague A regularly preventing pupils going out on break and deliberately making them late for lunch or gym;

(iv) Colleague A grabbing a boy by his arm;

(b) Fail to inform parents regarding incidents of physical abuse allegedly committed by Pupil B against their children.

(c) Fail to complete a Child’s Plan in respect of Pupil A in a timeous manner, thus unnecessarily delaying the input of appropriate assistance for Pupil A.

(d) Fail to share details of physical and mental abuse suffered by Pupil A with appropriate mental health professionals who were assessing Pupil A.

(e) Ask a probationary member of staff, namely Colleague B, to fabricate that she had been subject to class observations by another teacher when the Teacher knew said observations had not taken place.

(f) In or around June 2019 fail to ensure that Colleague B’s final report for GTC Scotland was signed timeously, thus resulting in a loss of earnings for Colleague B.

(g) Ask a member of staff at Edderton Primary School, namely Colleague E, to state that they had attended a Child Protection training session when the Teacher knew this was not the case.

2. The Teacher’s actions at allegation 1(a) were lacking in integrity.

3. The Teacher’s actions at allegation 1(e) were dishonest or, in the alternative, were lacking in integrity.

4. The Teacher’s actions at allegation 1(g) were dishonest or, in the alternative, were lacking in integrity.

In light of the above it is alleged that the Teacher’s fitness to teach is impaired, and she is unfit to teach as a result of breaching Parts 1.3, 1.4, 2.2, 2.4, 2.6, 4.1 and 4.4 of the General Teaching Council for Scotland’s Code of Professionalism and Conduct (COPAC) 2012.

This was a Procedural Application made by the Teacher’s Representative for redaction of certain passages of evidence from witness statements. The application for redaction was contained in a letter dated 6 February 2023. The Panel had also had regard to the submissions made by the Presenting Officer in response to the application, dated 6 March 2023, and the supplementary comments by the Teacher’s Representative, dated 7 March 2023.

The Panel was presented with two bundles by the Servicing Officer: a draft hearing bundle of the Presenting Officer’s full hearing papers consisting of 318 pages, and a combined bundle of the parties’ submissions and Presenting Officer’s papers consisting of 341 pages. The Panel was asked to make a number of redactions to various witness statements contained in the bundle of the Presenting Officer’s full hearing papers. Although parties had agreed to certain redactions, the application was presented on the basis that the Presenting Officer had not agreed to all of the redactions. For the avoidance of doubt, when referencing the page numbers, the Panel worked from the 318 page bundle which corresponded with the page numbers referenced by the Teacher’s Representative and the Presenting Officer in their submissions.

Conceded Redactions

The Panel noted that the Presenting Officer agreed to further redactions in his written submissions:

  • Statement of [redacted]
  • Statement of [redacted]
  • Statement of [redacted]

The Panel did not consider that it had any residual obligation to scrutinise the decision of the Presenting Officer to redact and accordingly confirmed that, were it required, that these passages should be redacted.

Legal Issues

The Panel had careful regard to the submissions made on behalf of the parties as well as the advice as required from the Legal Assessor and the Servicing Officer.

The Panel was aware that the case involved proof to the Civil standard and that Section 2 of the Civil Evidence Act 1988 made it clear that evidence shall not be excluded solely on the ground that it was hearsay.

The Panel noted that the applicable Rule for the admission of evidence in GTC Scotland proceedings was Rule 1.1.17 which states:

Subject to the requirements of relevance and fairness a panel may admit oral, documentary or other evidence whether or not such evidence would be admissible in civil or criminal proceedings in the United Kingdom.

The Panel noted that the key issues to determine were ‘relevance’ and ‘fairness’. Further, the Panel carefully considered the advice set out in the Witness and Hearsay Evidence Practice Statement. This advice referred to various cases where the issue of fairness was decided but not the issue of relevance. The submissions contained reference to cases that were not referred to in the practice statement, and the Panel was directed to the that case law by the Legal Assessor.

The Panel determined that it should consider the applicability of the case law to each of the passages objected to on the merits. It should also have careful regard to the allegations. It considered that although the Panel that would hear the case at a full hearing would have to consider what weight it should attach to the evidence, that was not a good reason for refusing to exclude evidence that was plainly irrelevant or unfair. There was a public interest in the expeditious disposal of the case and in restricting the evidence to the allegations.

Witness Statement of [redacted]

Witness Statement of [redacted]

Witness Statement of [redacted]

Witness Statement of [redacted]

Witness Statement of [redacted]

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