Panel Meeting – Anonymity Application – Teacher D
|Date||27 July 2023|
|Panel||Pauline McClellan, Gillian Fagan and Diane Molyneux|
|Legal Assessor||Jon Kiddie|
|Servicing Officer||Kirsty McIntosh|
|Teacher’s Representative||Martin Walker, Balfour + Manson|
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 GTC Scotland Fitness to Teach Rules 2017 or refers to a provision (or provisions) within them.
The Panel Meeting was arranged to consider the following:
- An anonymity application made by the Teacher following the outcome of the Panel Consideration on 17 February 2023. The parameters of the anonymisation being sought are as follows:
- For the name of the Teacher and his GTC Scotland Registration Number, and for any other information that the Panel determines may lead to the identification of the Teacher, to be anonymised in any written decision or documentation of the GTC Scotland and in the Reprimand Consent Order issued in accordance with Rule 2.7.
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:
- Application for Anonymity, dated 29 June 2023, including:
- [Redacted] Report, dated 26 June 2023
- Fitness to Teach Panel Consideration Outcome, dated 17 February 2023
- Reprimand Consent Order, signed and dated 19 March 2023.
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),
(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 Teacher did not request 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 had regard to the application and to the terms of the medical evidence produced in the form of a [redacted] Report dated 26 June 2023.
The Panel had regard to the GTC Scotland Practice Statements on Privacy and Anonymity and Health Matters and Medical Evidence. The Panel was satisfied that the author of the report, Medical Professional A, is an appropriately qualified practitioner. The report provided a specific diagnosis; details as to the severity of the conditions; an explanation of how publicly naming the Teacher would impact detrimentally on his [redacted] health; the treatment the Teacher had been offered; and the prognosis if the Teacher is not publicly named. Of note to the Panel was Medical Professional A’s professional opinion that, were the application not granted, then this would expose the Teacher to further [redacted] and [redacted], as well as a moderate-to-high risk of [redacted].
While the Panel noted the default position in GTC Scotland proceedings is that teachers would be named on the published decision, it had regard to the exceptions thereto, including for protection of the private life of parties. The Panel was satisfied that this was not a case simply involving distress or embarrassment, but that there was a real risk of the Teacher causing himself harm were he to be named publicly.
On balance, the Panel determined that the circumstances of the application weighed in favour of anonymity being granted, and so granted the application. The Panel ordered that the Teacher’s name, registration number, registration category, employer, school at which he was employed and the health provider should be redacted from the published decision in order to avoid identification of the Teacher.