Top private school teacher faces being struck off for helping students cheat


By Cara Sulieman

A FRENCH teacher who worked at Prince Charles’ former school faces being struck off over allegations that he helped students cheat on an oral exam.

Eric Tessier-Lavigne is alleged to have given 11 pupils at Gordonstoun School in Elgin an unfair advantage by emailing them information about a conversation topic the day before the GCSE French exam took place on May 4 2009.

It is also alleged the emails contained the instruction “destroy after reading”.

Today, the Disciplinary Sub-Committee of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC) heard that Mr Tessier-Lavigne denies the charges and the case was adjourned until April 27 when they will hear evidence.


It is expected he will give evidence in his own defence.

The lawyer for the GTC, Paul Marshall, said that he would also be calling three witnesses – the Head of Language, Head of IT and the Director of Curriculum at the school.

The French teacher was suspended from his job at the £26,085-a-year school when the allegations first emerged.

At the time he criticised the school for not giving him enough support when he changed from the Scottish Standard Grade system to the English system used at Gordonstoun.

He said at the time: “It was all their work. I just helped them organise their preparation materials.

“But this was seen as giving the pupils an unfair advantage over other students. I never helped anyone to cheat at any time.

“At no point was I given the appropriate guidance to carry out my duties. It’s very unfortunate that I made a mistake in procedure in something that I was totally unfamiliar with.”

Gordonstoun bills itself as one of the world’s leading independent schools with a roll-call of Royals who have attended.

Wizard of Gordostoun

Famous alumni include the Prince of Wales, his brothers the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex, and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Mr Tessier-Lavigne, who lives in Nairn, was hired as a French teacher in 2008 but suspended soon after the claims that he helped students cheat on exams in May 2009.

He did not appear in person yesterday.

The private school is no stranger to controversy – in 2002 headmaster Mark Pyper suspended his own daughter, Sarah, after she was caught drinking in the school grounds.

And in 2008 it was caught up in a drugs scandal when one pupil was expelled and eleven suspended for smoking cannabis.

Gordonstoun School was founded in 1933 by Dr Kurt Hahn after he fled the country under threat from the Nazis.

He set up the school with the aim to foster the qualities of skill, compassion, honesty, initiative, adventure and a sense of service into his students.

Dr Hahn started with just two buildings, Gordonstoun House and Round Square, built by Sir Robert Gordon, the Wizard of Gordonstoun.