Teacher banned for life after admitting affair with pupil

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By Alexander Lawrie

A SCOTS teacher who admitted to having sex with a 15 year-old pupil has been banned from teaching for life.

Alison Smith, 30, from Aberdeen, was struck from the teaching register after a General Teaching Council Scotland panel found the special needs teacher unfit to carry on working in schools.

In striking Smith’s name from the register the GTCS sub-committee said the teacher’s actions had “had harmed the child”.

The guilt-ridden teacher was forced to hand herself into police after it emerged she had slept with the underage boy on June 15 2008.

Smith was handed a sentence of 18 month’s probation and ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service when she appeared in front of Aberdeen Sheriff Court in January.

The shamed Miss also had her name placed on the Sex Offender’s List when she appeared in front of Sheriff James Tierney.

Banned from working with children

The special needs teacher was only spared a jail term after the mother of the boy wrote to the sheriff asking for leniency as her son “had suffered no damage” following the sexual incident.

Smith, who failed to appear at the GTCS hearing held in Edinburgh yesterday (Mon), has also had her name put forward to Scottish Ministers for exclusion with working with children in any capacity in the future.

The sexual offence came to light in June last year after the 15 year-old boy visited Smith’s home with two friends.

The four spent the night listening to music and watching films before Smith and the youngster were seen entering her bedroom, leaving the other two, who were boyfriend and girlfriend, in the living room.

The pair were said to have talked a while before the boy took off his t-shirt and put on a pair of pyjama bottoms.

Smith and the boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, then began to kiss before full sexual intercourse took place.

After the one night stand, the pair then fell asleep and the 15 year-old boy is said to have stayed the full night.

When they awoke, the amorous couple didn’t discuss what had happened the night before and nothing more was said about the incident until a fortnight later, when Smith confided in friends.

She then voluntarily attended a police station close to the school and admitted having sex with the under-age boy.

Suspended

The case first came to light at the end of the summer term last year, when the school’s headmaster announced a teacher had been suspended.

It is understood that at an end-of-term meeting he told staff that a complaint had been made against a learning support teacher.

Smith failed to return to the school after being initially suspended, then voluntarily leaving her position as a special needs teacher at Bankhead Academy, Aberdeen.

The incident came a year after the school was criticised by inspectors for having “poor leadership”.
Now Smith’s career lies in ruin after she was handed a life ban by the GTCS yesterday.

In striking Smith from the teaching register, the GTCS panel stated: “The Sub-committee found the offence to have material relevance to her fitness to be a teacher in that she failed to uphold the standards of professional conduct and integrity so that the public have confidence in her as a teacher, and teaching as a profession. 

“Furthermore the Sub-Committee expressed extreme concern in that the offence amounted to a grave breach of trust.

“The Sub-Committee decided that respondent’s name should be referred to the Scottish Ministers for consideration in connection with inclusion on the list of those disqualified from working with children under section 4 of the Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003.”

At the time of Smith’s sentencing, local councillor Neil Cooney, a former teacher, said: “I’ve got no sympathy. This is one of those things that should never, ever happen. There is a line that has to be drawn.

“Teachers can be young and be very close in age group to the kids, but they must still see them as children.

“It’s a sad state of affairs when things go too far.”

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