By Paul Thornton
Art teacher Christopher Cunningham, 58, was already suspended from a West Lothian secondary school after it emerged he had instigated sexual relationships with two girls as soon as they turned 16 years old.
The married dad-of-two took them to a wood in the area and had sex with both of them in front of each other, taking one of the girl’s virginity.
Last week he was placed on the sex offenders register and could now face jail in August after admitting he had breached his position of trust as a teacher when he appeared at Livingston Sheriff Court.
Yesterday Scotland’s teaching watchdog said that they had been following the case and would now launch an investigation.
The General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS) said that they had already placed an interim ban on Cunningham working at any school in April.
Now they say the £30,000 per year teacher will face their disciplinary process, the ultimate sanction being striking off.
A spokesman said: “The GTC Scotland held a temporary suspension hearing on 26 April following which Christopher Cunningham’s name was marked as suspended on the register.
“This is an interim measure until such time as we can consider the case fully through our process.
“In that regard, we were awaiting the outcome of the criminal case before we proceeded and as Mr Cunningham has been convicted, we will now proceed with considering the case in the normal way.
“In terms of when we will come to consider the case – we will await details of the sentence and then proceed with an investigation.
“Any teacher who is suspended can continue to be employed in their current post, however we are aware that Mr Cunningham was suspended by his employer when the allegations came to light.”
Livingston Sheriff Court heard how Cunningham – who has 20 years experience as a teacher – took the girls on trips to woods and beaches to have sex in tents after they confided troubles to him.
The Edinburgh man started the relationships in May 2008, taking advantage of the troubled teens’ problems to seduce them.
But – after one of the girls dumped him and sent letters to the school where he worked revealing the affairs – his home was raided and Cunningham tried to take his own life.
Cunningham blamed the girls for coming on to him following the revelations in August last year but was suspended by the school – which cannot be named for fear of identifying the girls.
He will be sentenced next month but was placed on the sex offenders register in the meantime.