GTC Scotland

The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Comhairle Choitcheann Teagaisg na h-Alba

General Teaching Council for Scotland Fitness to Teach Panel Outcome

Full Hearing

4, 5 and 6 May 2021

 Teacher Bing Wang (not present/not represented)
 Registration Number 059306
 Registration category Secondary (Art and Design)
 Panel Arthur Stewart (Convener), Diane Molyneux and Joanne Sharp
 Legal Assessor Fiona Drysdale
 Servicing Officer Kirsty McIntosh
 Presenting Officer Gary Burton, Anderson Strathern
 Teacher's representative  Not represented

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; and
• the ‘Register’ means the GTCS register of teachers.

Preliminary Issues

In accordance with a Panel Meeting decision dated 17 February 2021, this hearing took place virtually via Microsoft Teams. At the outset of the hearing, the Convener explained the etiquette and procedures for virtual hearings.

Proceeding in the Absence

The Teacher did not attend the virtual hearing. Accordingly, at the outset of the hearing the Presenting Officer referred to Rule 1.7.8 on proceeding in the absence and submitted that the Panel required to be satisfied that the Notice of Hearing had been properly served and that it was fair to proceed in the Teacher’s absence. He referred to Rule 1.6.1 on service of the notice. He submitted that the Notice of Hearing had been properly served. He referred to the Notice of Hearing emailed to the Teacher on 6 April 2021 and a delivery receipt, both of which were produced. The Panel was satisfied that notice had been served and received.

The Presenting Officer referred to the GTCS Practice Statement: Postponements, Adjournments and Proceeding in the Absence, Part B. In particular, he referred to page 3, point 5 which states that if a hearing is to proceed in the absence of a Teacher, the Panel must ensure that the hearing is conducted as fairly and in as balanced a way as the circumstances permit. He referred to Part D of the Practice Statement, in particular, to the factors to be considered by the Panel, namely whether the Teacher has indicated an intention to attend or whether the Teacher has engaged with the process. He submitted that this was a voluntary absence by the Teacher. He referred the Panel to an email from the Teacher dated 15 December 2020 stating that the Teacher does not wish to engage further in the process. He submitted that this was a clear statement that the Teacher did not intend to attend or be represented at the Full Hearing. The Presenting Officer submitted that the crux of the matter was whether the absence was voluntary or involuntary and that if the Teacher had chosen not to attend, the assumption was that the hearing will proceed. The Presenting Officer submitted that the Panel could be satisfied that the Teacher had voluntarily absented himself from the Full Hearing.

The Panel considered the Practice Statement and had regard to the circumstances surrounding the application and the advice, when required, of the Legal Assessor and Servicing Officer. The Panel noted that English was the Teacher’s second language and took this factor into account in reaching its decision. The Panel had regard to the fact that the Teacher had chosen not to attend. The Panel considered the reasons for the Presenting Officer’s application to proceed in his absence. In his email of 15 December 2020 the Teacher stated that he would not be defending himself and had chosen to not be present. He stated, ‘I will leave it to your professional judgement and will be out of the picture regarding the case.’ The Panel concluded both on the basis of the Teacher’s response and the lack of any subsequent response to the Notice of Hearing that it was clear that the Teacher had voluntarily chosen not to attend.

The Teacher indicated that he did not wish to engage in the hearing. The Panel had regard to the variety and nature of the allegations, the public interest, fairness to the Teacher and his human rights, and the interests of the public and the Teacher in cases being dealt with as quickly as possible. The Panel considered the wider public interest in favour of determining the allegations and the fact that three witnesses had made themselves available for the hearing that day and the consequences of granting or refusing the application on those involved with the hearing. The Panel also had regard to the general objective set out in Part 1 of the Rules: the need to deal with cases fairly and justly and in ways which are proportionate, informal and flexible, encourage participation, and avoid delay. The Panel concluded that it was both necessary and proportionate to proceed in the absence of the Teacher.

The Panel determined (i) that service of the notice had been effected in accordance with the Rules; and (ii) that the Teacher had voluntarily absented himself from the hearing and indicated that he would not be attending or be represented at the hearing, so it was just to proceed with the hearing in his absence.

The Panel noted that it must at no point draw any adverse inference from the fact that the Teacher chose not to attend.

Allegations

The following allegations were considered at the hearing:

  1.  When employed as Head of Art at Glenalmond College, Glenalmond, Perthshire, you did:
    1.  Allow Pupil A to stay at your home during the half-term holiday in or around April 2017;
    2.  On or around 27 June 2017, during a discussion with HR Consultant A, say ‘If I make them cry then so be it. Crying isn’t necessarily a bad thing is it’ or words to that effect;
    3.  On 25 January 2018 state to Witness 1, Deputy Head Pastoral that you had a full GTC Scotland registration when you knew that your registration status was provisional;
    4.  In or around March 2018, make inappropriate comments to Pupil B causing her to become upset, including:
      1.  saying that she was ‘stupid’ and an ‘idiot’ or words to that effect;
      2.  ‘you will never make as much money as me’ or words to that effect; and
      3.  ‘all the teachers think you are dumb’ or words to that effect.
    5.  Between February and May 2017, fail to follow the Joint Council for Qualifications
      protocol by:
      1.  painting on the examination of pupils;
      2.  failing to follow examination timings; and
      3.  allowing pupils to possess mobile phones during examinations.
    6.  Your conduct at allegation 1(c) above was dishonest; and
    7.  Your conduct at allegation 1(e) lacked integrity.

And in light of the above it is alleged that your fitness to teach is impaired and you are unfit to teach as a result of breaching Parts 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.6 and 2.3 of the General Teaching  Council for Scotland Code of Professionalism and Conduct.

Teacher’s Admissions

From the limited response provided by the Teacher, it appeared that the allegations were denied in full.

Hearing Papers

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 hearing:

1 Final Investigation Report, dated 12 August 2020, with appendices thereto:
1.1 Witness Statement of Witness 1 (present)
1.2 Witness Statement of Witness 2 (present)
1.3 Witness Statement of Witness 3 (present)
1.4 Glenalmond College Guardianship Policy
1.5 Email from Witness 1 to ‘teaching staff’, dated 10 January 2017
1.6 Email correspondence between the Teacher and Warden A, dated 23 May 2017
1.7 Minutes of Investigation between HR Consultant A, and the Teacher, dated 27 June 2017
1.8 Minutes of Investigation between HR Consultant A, and Witness 1, dated 20 June 2017
1.9 Minutes of Investigation between HR Consultant A, and Witness 2, dated 22 June 2017
1.10 Minutes of Investigation between HR Consultant A, and [redacted], Witness 3 and Witness 2, dated 30 June 2017
1.11 Email correspondence between Teacher and Witness 1, dated 25 January 2018
1.12 Email from Witness 1 to Warden A, dated 9 March 2018
1.13 Note by Witness 1, dated 13 March 2018
1.14 Joint Council for Qualifications Protocol 2016-17
1.15 GTCS registration profile for the Teacher
1.16 Cover email for Interim Report and delivery receipt, dated 19 June 2020
2 Notice of Investigation, dated 27 August 2018
3 Emails between GTCS and the Teacher, dated 27 August, 10-11 September, and 15 October 2018 regarding new deadline for response
4 Email correspondence between Servicing Officer and the Teacher, confirming Teacher not engaging, dated 15 December 2020
5 Notice of Full Hearing, dated 6 April 2021 with cover email and delivery receipt

Summary of Evidence

Witness 1

Witness 1 confirmed that she had provided a statement to GTCS which was signed and dated 9 January 2020 and that what was written there was true. She confirmed that she was a teacher of maths and Deputy Head of Pastoral at Glenalmond College. She spoke to guardianship procedures, registration with GTCS and the school investigatory process. She answered questions clearly and indicated when she could not remember facts e.g. the identity of the guardian for Pupil A. She was not well placed to talk about exam procedures though she did appear to be familiar with these. Pupil B provided a statement about comments made to her in class by the Teacher which was prepared by her and she spoke to the contents of this. She also spoke to the distress of Pupil B after the incident. Afterwards she emailed the Teacher to raise concerns about his interactions with Pupil B and met him to discuss this. She recalled that he denied the comments made and was dismissive of them. She spoke to emails between herself and the Teacher dated 25 January 2018 checking the status of his registration in which he stated that he had full registration with GTCS and had telephoned GTCS to check this. Witness 1 checked this with GTCS herself afterwards and found that his registration status was provisional, and he had not met the criteria to move to full registration and that the deadline had passed for meeting that requirement.

Witness 2

Witness 2 confirmed that she had provided a statement to GTCS which was unsigned and undated and that what was written there was true. She confirmed that she was an art technician and teacher of art at Glenalmond College. She spoke to art exam procedures at the school including: assistance provided to pupils during art exams; mobile phones; exam timings; and the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) Protocol. She was an eyewitness to events during an exam which she reported afterwards to the Warden (head of the school), Warden A. She spoke to the Teacher allowing pupils to spend longer than the allocated time on their work in exams and being allowed to come in and out of the exam room outside the time of the exams. She saw the Teacher painting on at least three exam pieces during exams and reported this to the Warden. She spoke to the Teacher not using any method to record exam timings including not having a written system. She stated that even a few days after the exams, some pupils were still working on their exam pieces after the exam time had finished and that during exams there were mobile phones ‘everywhere’. She did not witness any efforts to prevent this by the Teacher.

Witness 3

Witness 3 confirmed that she had provided a statement to GTCS which was unsigned and undated and that what was written there was true. She confirmed that she was a housemistress and Head of History of Art at Glenalmond College. She was brought into the art department in February 2017 as a colleague had left. She gave a description of how the exam process worked and the JCQ Protocol. She was an eyewitness to events in the art department and spoke to how the actions of the Teacher changed the outcome of exams. She spoke to the Teacher and his wife working on one pupil’s screen print during an exam and the Teacher working on another pupil’s work with paint and paintbrush, also during an exam. The actions of the Teacher altered the way the two exam pieces looked and one of the pupils was inconsolable and so upset she did not want to look at her work again after the Teacher had worked on it. Witness 3 reported this to her line manager and the Warden after the exam. Witness 3 also spoke to pupils listening to music on electronic devices during art exams and pupils commonly using the term ‘Wangify’ to describe the Teacher finishing their work for them. 

The Teacher

The Teacher did not attend to give evidence to the Panel and did not provide a witness statement. Minutes of a meeting between HR Consultant A and the Teacher dated 27 June 2017 were produced but neither HR Consultant A nor the Teacher were present to speak to these. HR Consultant A was asked to engage in the GTCS investigation but declined to do so and the Teacher was absent. The Panel considered the Practice Statement on Witnesses and Hearsay Evidence and the steps taken to secure the attendance of the witnesses, whether it was unfair in the facts and circumstances of the case to admit the hearsay evidence, the impossibility of cross-examination and the nature and quality of the hearsay evidence including why and how it was  recorded. The Panel found the minutes to be admissible but gave careful consideration to the appropriate weight to attach to them.

Findings of Fact


The Panel gave careful consideration to all of the evidence presented and submissions made by the parties in making its findings of fact on the allegations. The Teacher was absent and, in the circumstances, the Panel took account of the Practice Statement on Fact-finding in Fitness to Teach Conduct Cases relating to absent teachers and its obligation to ensure that the hearing is conducted as fairly and in as balanced a way as circumstances permit.

The Panel had in mind that the burden of proof rested on the Presenting Officer and that the standard of proof required is that used in civil proceedings, namely the balance of probabilities.

The Panel first considered the credibility and reliability of the witnesses who had given oral evidence at the Full Hearing.

The Panel considered the evidence of Witness 1 and found that she gave her evidence in an open and straightforward manner and did not appear to have any personal interest in the outcome of the hearing. She was objective and her evidence was consistent with facts which were known. The Panel concluded that she was a credible and reliable witness and that her evidence was inherently probable. Where the evidence of Witness 1 differed from that of the Teacher, the Panel preferred the evidence of Witness 1 which was supported by contemporaneous statements from pupils and independent documentation in the form of registration details from GTCS.

The Panel next considered the evidence of Witness 2. She was able to give her evidence in a clear and straightforward manner although she appeared nervous at the start. The Panel considered that she was credible and reliable and that her evidence was inherently probable and had internal consistency. Her account of events of the breaches of the JCQ Protocol during exams by the Teacher was contradicted by him. The Panel preferred the evidence of Witness 2 because it was supported by other independent eyewitness evidence from Witness 3. Witness 2 accepted that she had a poor relationship with the Teacher but commented that she had integrity and would not have allowed this to have a bearing on pupil examinations. The Panel found that her objectivity was not marred by her poor relationship with the Teacher and that she was well placed to form an objective professional view of what happened.

The Panel found that Witness 3 was an objective witness with no history of a poor relationship with the Teacher. She conveyed her recollection as best she could, but her evidence was not as detailed as that of other witnesses due to the effect of the passage of time on her recollection. Her evidence was inherently probable and was consistent with what she had said on other occasions. The Panel found that she had no ulterior motive apart from wanting what was right for the profession and her pupils. The Panel considered that she was a credible and reliable witness.

The Panel was not able to hear oral testimony from the Teacher because he was absent. He had not provided a witness statement. His position was recorded in the minutes of his meeting with HR Consultant A but, as previously indicated, the Panel were not able to attach very much weight to this evidence given that neither he nor HR Consultant A were present at the hearing to speak to those minutes. Where the evidence of the Teacher in the minutes was contradicted by other evidence, including that of eyewitnesses, the Panel preferred that evidence. The Panel  concluded that the Teacher was not credible or reliable as his account of events was contradicted by both oral testimony from the witnesses at the hearing, statements from pupils and documentary evidence. The Panel was, however, mindful that the onus of proof rested on the Presenting Officer to prove each allegation to the necessary standard.
For the same reason, although the Panel carefully considered all documentary evidence provided, it attached less weight to documents that were not spoken to directly by the witnesses who gave oral evidence. It carefully considered the approach to be taken to hearsay evidence as outlined in the Witnesses and Hearsay Evidence Practice Statement.

The Panel then considered each allegation separately.

1(a) Allow Pupil A to stay at your home during the half-term holiday in or around April 2017

The Panel considered the email from Witness 1 to teaching staff dated 10 January 2017 which stated that current guardianship placements may continue but new arrangements must follow the new policy. The Panel had reference to emails between the Teacher and the Warden, Warden A dated 23 May 2017 in which he acknowledged that he had Pupil A to stay with him during half term, in contravention of the School’s Guardianship Policy. Witness 1 was clear in her oral evidence that at that time the Teacher was not Pupil A's guardian.

The Panel had regard to the minutes of the meeting between the Teacher and HR Consultant A where he admitted that Pupil A had stayed at his house and the oral testimony from Witness 1. The Panel considered  the Teacher’s admission that Pupil A had stayed at his house in the meeting with HR Consultant A, but the Panel decided not to attach weight to that document. It preferred the evidence of Witness 1.

The Panel found this allegation proved.

1(b) On or around 27 June 2017, during a discussion with HR Consultant A, say ‘If I make them cry then so be it. Crying isn’t necessarily a bad thing is it’ or words to that effect;

Minutes of the meeting between HR Consultant A and the Teacher dated 27 June 2017 referred to above were produced. The Panel considered the Practice Statement on Witnesses and Hearsay Evidence and that the minutes were the sole piece of evidence on this allegation. The position of the Teacher recorded in the minutes was that he denied the allegation. The Panel considered, among other things, that there was no other evidence to support the allegation, the steps taken to secure the attendance of the witnesses, whether it was unfair in the facts and circumstances of the case to admit the hearsay evidence, the impossibility of cross-examination and the nature and quality of the hearsay evidence including why and how it was recorded. The Panel found the minutes to be admissible as set out above and gave careful consideration to the appropriate weight to attach to them. 

The Panel, on the basis of the evidence available to it, were not satisfied that this allegation could be proved on the balance of probabilities.

1(c) On 25 January 2018 state to Witness 1, Deputy Head Pastoral that you had a full GTC Scotland registration when you knew that your registration status was provisional;

The Panel considered emails between Witness 1 and the Teacher dated 25 January 2018 which were spoken to by Witness 1. The Panel had found Witness 1 to be credible and reliable. In the emails the Teacher stated that he had called GTCS and was told that he had full registration. There was no other evidence from the Teacher. The Panel considered that it was inherently improbable that any teacher would not know the status of their registration with GTCS. There was no independent evidence that the Teacher had telephoned GTCS. The Panel considered the GTCS screenshot produced indicating the Teacher’s registration was provisional only. Witness 1 also spoke to this being a reflection of the information she saw when she searched the GTCS Register. She was also able speak to a telephone conversation she had with an employee of GTCS who confirmed that the Teacher’s registration status was provisional.

The Panel found this allegation to be proved.

(1)(d) In or around March 2018, make inappropriate comments to Pupil B causing her to become upset, including:
(iv) saying that she was ‘stupid’ and an ‘idiot’ or words to that effect;
(v) ‘you will never make as much money as me’ or words to that effect; and
(vi) ‘all the teachers think you are dumb’ or words to that effect.

The Panel considered the evidence from statements from Pupil B to whom comments were allegedly made and another other pupil who was present at the time, [redacted]. A note of a conversation, signed by Witness 3, between Witness 3 and another pupil, [redacted], was produced. Witness 3 also spoke to the statement by Pupil B. She spoke to receiving a statement by Pupil B provided to her housemistress, Housemistress A. The statement detailed what was said to Pupil B by the Teacher and how this had upset her. A further statement was made by a different pupil about what was said by the Teacher to Pupil B to another housemistress, Witness 3, in a different house in a different location within Glenalmond College. Afterwards Witness 1 emailed the Teacher to say that she had concerns about his interactions with Pupil B and she met the Teacher to discuss this in the art department. She said that one of the female pupils in his class was upset by some comments made by him suggesting that she was stupid and that other teachers thought she was dumb. When she spoke to him, the Teacher had no recollection whatsoever about making those comments and she described him as being, ‘defensive, curt and dismissive’. The Panel considered the full facts and circumstances of how the statements and note of conversation were produced. The Presenting Officer submitted that the pupils had been asked to give evidence but were no longer resident in the UK and had been contacted at their last known addresses but had not replied. The pupils had provided statements in different boarding houses in the presence of different teachers. The Panel was concerned that the Teacher was absent, and Pupil B was not available to give evidence. The Panel was concerned that the statements, note of conversation and accounts of events by Witness 3 and Witness 1 were all hearsay evidence. The Panel considered the Practice Statement on Witnesses and Hearsay Evidence and whether admitting the evidence would be unfair in the facts and circumstances of the case. The Panel considered that the allegations were of a serious nature and the Teacher did not recollect the comments. The Panel considered the authenticity of the phraseology used by the pupils in their handwritten statements and the consistencies between the different accounts. The Panel found that the evidence should be admitted and that it could attach weight to it. 

The Panel found allegations (d) (i), (ii) and (iii) proved.

(e) Between February and May 2017, fail to follow the Joint Council for Qualifications
protocol by:
(iv) painting on the examination of pupils;

Witness 2 and Witness 3 spoke to witnessing the Teacher painting on children’s work during exams. The Teacher denied this in minutes of a meeting dated 27 June 2017 which were produced. The minutes recorded the Teacher’s explanation of the term ‘Wangify’ which he stated was when he explained to the pupils what he wanted them to do. The Panel had considered the admissibility of the minutes as set out above and found them to be admissible but attached more weight to the evidence of eyewitnesses where this differed from the content of the minutes. Witness 2 spoke to the Teacher painting on at least three examination pieces and that after the examination she reported this to the Warden. Witness 3 spoke to the Teacher painting on two examination pieces. She remembered one of these incidents distinctly because the pupil was inconsolable afterwards and would not return to her work. Witness 3 reported these incidents to her line manager and the Warden. She described how, when she joined the art department, she commonly heard pupils using the term ‘Wangify’ and was told by them that it described a situation near the end of their work when the Teacher came and finished their work for them. The Panel carefully considered the circumstances as the Teacher had not given evidence in person or provided a witness statement and there had been no opportunity for him to be cross-examined. Ultimately the Panel preferred the evidence of Witness 2 and Witness 3, whom it found to be credible and reliable, to that of the Teacher whose account it did not find to be credible.

The Panel found this allegation proved.

(v) failing to follow examination timings; and

The Teacher denies not adhering to timings. It was recorded in the minutes of the investigation meeting with the Teacher dated 27 June 2017 that the Teacher was asked whether he adhered to start and finish times during exams and he stated that the times were adhered to and that he did not need a log to record this as he was there and he did not lock the exam room at start and finish times. The Panel had considered the admissibility of the minutes as set out above and found them to be admissible but attached more weight to the evidence of eyewitnesses where this differed from the content of the minutes.

The minutes were contradicted by the evidence of the eyewitnesses. The Teacher had confirmed the presence of Witness 2, Witness 3 and his wife in exams to give technical help to pupils. Witness 3 was in the room and her evidence was that the Teacher did not adhere to timings. Witness 2 spoke to the Teacher deviating by anything up to 3.5 hours above the examination timings. The Panel considered that Witness 2 and Witness 3 were credible and reliable witnesses and preferred their evidence to that of the Teacher where their account of events contradicted his, because they did not find his evidence to be credible. It was confirmed in the minutes that the eyewitnesses were present during the exams. The Panel had considered the admissibility of the minutes as set out above and found them to be admissible and that it could attach weight to these, given the supporting evidence of eyewitnesses.  

The Panel considered the JCQ Protocol which stated that during an exam those who had breaks must be noted and that the end of the exam must be adhered to with those who had breaks being given additional time. The Panel considered that it was inherently improbable that the Teacher could monitor timings for a whole class without keeping a written log.

Accordingly, the Panel found this allegation proved.

(i) allowing pupils to possess mobile phones during examinations.

The Panel considered part 11.1 of the JCQ Protocol prohibiting use of iPods, mobile phones, MP3/4 players, Smartwatches and wrist watches which have a data storage device in exams and section 11.2 which did not allow candidates to listen to music in timed art examinations. The Panel considered the evidence of the Teacher in the minutes dated 27 June 2017 in which he stated that he allowed pupils to listen to music during exams and to use mobile phones as iPods. The Panel had considered the admissibility of the minutes as set out above and found them to be admissible. The Panel considered the evidence of Witness 2 that the Teacher allowed pupils to use mobile phones during exams and that a JCQ poster was not displayed outside the classroom stating that use of mobile phones was prohibited during exams. Witness 3 could not recall the use of mobile phones by pupils during art exams but stated that some were listening to music and she presumed this was on mobile phones. She stated that some children had headphones in. When asked about whether there was a poster on the door, she stated that she could not remember definitely but that these were always on the doors of exam halls. 

The Panel found this allegation proved.

1(f) Your conduct at allegation 1(c) above was dishonest; and

The Panel considered the evidence discussed in relation to the allegation at 1(c) above. The Panel considered that the Teacher had been dishonest when he spoke to Witness 1 and stated to her that he had full GTCS registration and that he had telephoned GTCS to check this. Witness 1 had checked his registration status by telephone with GTCS who confirmed that it was provisional only. A screenshot of his registration status was provided confirming this. The Panel accepted the test for dishonesty offered by the Presenting Officer deriving from the case of Ivey vs Genting Casinos [2017] UKSC 67. The Panel applied an objective standard of ordinary decent people in considering the facts.

The Panel found this allegation to be proved.

1 (g) Your conduct at allegation 1(e) lacked integrity.

The Panel considered the concept of integrity as defined in Wingate and Evans v SRA [2018] EWCA Civ 366. The Panel regarded integrity as the practice of being honest and showing a consistent and uncompromising adherence to strong moral and ethical principles and values.
The Teacher was provisionally registered with GTCS and was working as a Head of Department. The Panel considered the evidence from two credible eyewitnesses. The Teacher was required to adhere to professional standards even as a provisionally registered teacher. He should have been aware of the professional standards and it was a professional requirement to read the JCQ Protocol. Furthermore, it was his duty as a Head of Department to have read the Protocol.

Accordingly, the Panel found this allegation to be proved.

Proceeding in the Absence (Stage 2)

Having found some of the allegations proved, the Panel considered whether to proceed to the next stage of the case, namely consideration of fitness to teach, in the absence of the Teacher. The Presenting Officer submitted that the Panel could proceed. He submitted that notice of the hearing had been served and received, that there was a voluntary absence by the Teacher, that the crux of the matter was whether the absence was voluntary or involuntary and that if the Teacher had chosen not to attend, the assumption was that the hearing would proceed. He referred to GTCS Practice Statement on Postponements, Adjournments and Proceeding in the Absence.

The Panel considered the issues of fairness, the public interest, the serious nature or otherwise of the allegations found to be proved and whether there had been a statement by the Teacher of whether he wished to attend or be represented at the hearing. The Panel considered the Practice Statement on Postponements, Adjournments and Proceedings in the Absence. The Panel considered that the Teacher had indicated he did not wish to attend the hearing or engage in the process.

The Panel determined to proceed with the hearing into the Fitness to Teach stage. It considered that the Teacher had been given sufficient opportunity already to participate in the process. The Panel considered that it was unlikely that the Teacher would re-engage with the process were they to pause at this stage. The Panel was also of the view that it was in the public interest to proceed further with the case and bring it to a conclusion.

For the reasons given the Panel decided to continue to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Teacher.

Findings on Fitness to Teach

Given that the Panel found that the majority of the allegations were proved, the Panel invited the Presenting Officer to lead evidence and make submissions in relation to the Teacher’s fitness to teach.

The Presenting Officer submitted that a number of parts of COPAC had been breached by the Teacher, that he had made inappropriate comments to a pupil, painted on the exams of pupils and not helped them to realise their full potential. He gave the example of one witness, Witness 3, speaking to a pupil stopping her work in an exam after the Teacher had painted on her exam piece. He submitted that the case was very serious, and that the allegation of dishonesty was one of the most serious types of misconduct that comes before a professional regulator and  that it was difficult to remediate due to the likelihood of reoccurrence. As regards assessment, he submitted that it was one of the cornerstones of education and that allegations about the exam process were at the most serious end of the scale. He submitted that there was no evidence of remorse, insight or remediation, that instead there was evidence of denial and that therefore the risk of reoccurrence was significant. He submitted that in terms of the seriousness of the allegations of breaches of COPAC and the behaviour found proved that the Teacher’s actions fell significantly short of what was expected and that he had acted in a way incompatible with being a registered Teacher. He invited the Panel to find the Teacher unfit to teach in the public interest and due to the element of dishonesty.

No additional evidence was presented by the Presenting Officer.

The Panel also had regard to the legal advice, including the need to consider remediation and the public interest when determining current fitness to teach.

The Panel gave careful consideration to all of the evidence presented and submissions made by the Presenting Officer in relation to the Teacher’s fitness to teach. The Panel addressed the relevant considerations in relation to fitness to teach, as outlined in the GTCS Indicative Outcomes Guidance.

First, the Panel determined that the allegations found proved were sufficiently serious to amount to misconduct. The Teacher’s behaviour was not what was expected of a registered teacher. The Panel found that the Teacher's actions at allegations 1(a) and (d) breached Part 1.2 of COPAC because he had Pupil A, to whom he was not a guardian, to stay in his home and he had made inappropriate comments to Pupil B. The Panel found that the Teacher's actions at allegations 1 (a), (d) and (e) breached part 1.3 of COPAC because having a pupil to stay in his home, making inappropriate comments to a pupil and failures to follow the JCQ protocol for assessment in exams called into question his fitness to teach.  The Panel found that the Teacher's actions at allegations 1 (a), (c), (d), (e) (i) to (iii) breached Part 1.4 of COPAC because they  were likely to damage public confidence in him and the profession. The Panel found that the Teacher's actions at allegations 1 (d) breached Part 1.6 of COPAC because they were incompatible with being a role model to pupils. The Panel found that the Teacher's actions at allegations 1 (d) and (e) breached Part 2.3 of COPAC because he had not been a positive role model to pupils and motivated and inspired them to realise their full potential.

In particular, the Panel considered that the following parts of COPAC had been breached:

Part 1: Professionalism and maintaining trust in the profession

  • 1.2 - you must maintain appropriate professional boundaries, avoid improper contact or relationships with pupils and respect your unique position of trust as a teacher; [breach in allegation 1(a) and 1(d)]
  • 1.3 - you should avoid situations both within and out with the professional context which could be in breach of the criminal law, or may call into question your fitness to teach; [breach in allegation 1(a) and 1d (i) to (iii), 1(e)]
  • 1.4 - uphold standards of personal and professional conduct honesty and integrity so that the public have confidence in you as a teacher and teaching as a profession; [breach in allegation 1(a), (c), (d), e (i) to (iii)]
  • 1.6 - you should maintain an awareness that as a teacher you are a role model to pupils; [breach in allegation 1(d)]

Part 2: Professional responsibilities towards pupils

  • 2.3 - you should aim to be a positive role model to pupils and motivate and inspire them to realise their full potential; [breach in allegation 1(d), (e)]

Having found that the proven allegations amounted to misconduct, the Panel then went on to consider, with reference to the Fitness to Teach Conduct Cases - Indicative Outcomes Guidance Practice Statement, whether the conduct was remediable, whether it had been remedied, and whether there was a likelihood of recurrence. The Panel regarded the conduct as very serious due to the findings relating to dishonesty and lack of integrity, the likely effect on pupils who had sat exams and would be aware that they had not complied with the JCQ protocol and the likely effect of the Teacher’s comments on Pupil B. The Panel considered that the Teacher’s conduct was not remediable. The Teacher had admitted allegation 1(a) in that Pupil A had stayed with him but did not demonstrate insight or remorse in relation to this. His actions were not consistent with the procedures in place within the school. The Panel was not satisfied that the Teacher had learned from his actions in allegation 1(a) and that he had taken his behaviour seriously.

The Panel considered whether there were any aggravating and mitigating factors. The Teacher had  not chosen to engage in the GTCS process. There was no evidence of remediation. As the Teacher had not given evidence, it was not possible for the Panel to ascertain more clearly the level of his insight in order to remediate the conduct and mitigate against the risk of it happening again. It was not possible to question him about any training he had completed or otherwise to test his evidence.

The Panel identified a series of acts which could be said to be dishonest: tampering with pupil artwork; flouting exam regulations; and claiming to be registered when he was not; amounting to a pattern of dishonest behaviour. The Panel also identified a pattern of behaviour that displayed a disregard for regulations and procedures.

There was a lack of evidence before the Panel to demonstrate that the Teacher had taken appropriate steps to address his behaviour. The Panel had no evidence from any current employer as to his conduct and no independent evidence of his current circumstances. It was understood from the Teacher’s correspondence that he was involved in other areas outwith teaching. The Panel considered that in all the circumstances there was a high likelihood of recurrence if he were to continue to teach.

Therefore, there was insufficient evidence to satisfy the Panel that the conduct, in this particular case, was remediable, had been remedied, and that there was no likelihood of recurrence. The Panel considered that the public perception of the seriousness of the allegations would be high and that the public would regard the actions of the Teacher as misconduct. The Panel also determined that the public interest required a finding that the Teacher was unfit to teach, given the need to maintain the public’s confidence in the teaching profession and in GTCS as its regulator. Further to this, the Panel determined that there were several serious breaches of COPAC.  and that areas of his conduct were fundamentally incompatible with being a registered teacher.

Accordingly, for the reasons set out above, the Panel determined that the Teacher’s conduct falls significantly short of the standards expected of a registered teacher and that he is, as a result, 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 directed that the Teacher’s name be removed from the Register.

Once the Teacher’s name has been removed from the Register, his name remains so removed unless and until an application for re-registration is made by him and a Fitness to Teach Panel directs that the application be granted. The Panel directed that the Teacher should be prohibited from making an application for re-registration for a period of 2 years from the date of its decision.  The Panel considered that a shorter time period was inappropriate given the serious nature of the allegations, the multiple breaches of COPAC, the public interest and the lack of evidence of insight, remorse or remediation.

Appeal

 The Teacher has the right to appeal to the Court of Session against the decision within 28 days of service of the Decision Notice. The Teacher’s name will remain on the Register until the appeal period has expired and any appeal lodged within that period has been determined.