Panel Meeting – Anonymity Application – Teacher A
|Teacher A (not present)
|29 November 2023
|Panel Pauline McClellan, Alison Coleman and James Mollison
|Gary Burton, Anderson Strathern (not present)
|Andrew Faux, The Reflective Practice (not present)
Faisal Sameja, Association of School and College Leaders (not present)
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:
- Application made by the Teacher for anonymity, dated 14 October 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:
- Email communication with the Parties
- Response from the Teacher
- Anonymity application with evidence
- Appendix 1 [redacted]
- Appendix 2 [redacted] dated 22 June 2020
- Letter from [redacted] dated 20 October 2023
- Presenting Officer’s response to anonymity application
- Signed Consent Order.
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 neither of the Parties requested the procedural hearing in the submissions made. Further to this, the Panel considered that a procedural hearing was not necessary. Therefore, the Panel proceeded to consider the matter on the papers.
The Panel considered the application in terms of rule 1.7.3 of the Rules. It considered the application in accordance with the Privacy and Anonymity Practice Statement. The panel considered all of the evidence listed above when dealing with the application.
The application was for an anonymity order following the issue and signature of a consent order.
The Panel was content to proceed on the papers in terms of rule 2.5.1 of the Rules.
The Panel noted that the default position is that proceedings and decisions will be publicised. The Panel considered whether there is a risk of detriment to health in disclosing the Teacher’s identity The Panel noted that the Teacher has stated categorically that he would commit suicide if his case was made public. The Panel was satisfied that this constitutes the basis of the application.
The Panel considered the medical evidence in relation to the medical matters practice statement. The Panel decided that the medical evidence provided satisfied the requirements of that practice statement. [redacted]. The Panel accepted the medical evidence.
The Panel also considered the teacher’s own response and what he says will be the effect of publicity upon him. The Panel considered the submissions of the Presenting Officer. These referred the Panel to the practice statements but overall appeared to adopt a neutral position
[redacted]. In the Panel’s view, the evidence meets the requirements of the practice statement on privacy and anonymity in that it demonstrates a potential risk to the Teacher’s health. The Panel accepted that evidence which is a matter which weighs in favour of the grant of anonymity.
The Panel considered other factors in favour of publicity. As well as the general public interest the individuals involved have a legitimate interest in knowing what has transpired as a result of allegations made.
On balance, the Panel decided that the Teacher’s interests outweighed the interests of the public to be aware of the teacher’s name. The Panel therefore resolved to grant an anonymity order.
The Panel considered the details which ought not to be disclosed in terms of its order. The Panel concluded that the Teacher’s name, registration number, school and role at that school ought to be redacted. The Panel did not consider that disclosure of the teacher’s registration category, employer, or the dates in the allegations required to be redacted in order to protect the Teacher’s anonymity.