Barra teacher accused of failing to warn school of truanting


GTCSforwebAN island teacher failed to warn anyone that a pupil was skipping school to be with her 24-year-old boyfriend, it is alleged.

Janice Ross, a former teacher at Castlebay School on the Hebridean island of Barra, is also accused of giving preferential treatment to her favourite pupils – whom she is said to have dubbed her “groupies”.

The English teacher, who has since been sacked, was previously been convicted of driving pupils from the school to the island’s airport despite not having a full licence.

Ms Ross now faces a hearing before the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), which could strike her off.

She faces dozens of charges relating to teacher competence and her 2007 conviction, with the GTCS claiming she is “unfit to teach.”

One charge states: “On 25 September 2008 you became aware that a female school pupil was absent from school believed to be off  the island with her 24 year old boyfriend and failed to report this to the Head Teacher or the local authority and took no action.”

Another charge states: “You developed groups of favourites, who were termed by you and by pupils as your “groupies” and this was known by staff, parents and other pupils within your classroom, and in doing so excluded other members of the class.”


She is also accused of causing “great embarrassment” to a pupil who had asked what gossamer was in class.

Ms Ross is said to have replied that “she should know it because it was used in condoms,” which led to the pupil’s parents complaining to the school.

Another charge accuses the teacher of undermining a school assessor who has teacher her class.

It says: “You undermined John Dillon when he was teaching one of your English classes by sitting in the class, sharing out sweets among pupils, reading aloud contrary to his request and leaving the class room while laughing during his lesson.”

The GTCS charges also say she failed to improve her teaching practice despite repeated support from colleagues.

When she was given six weeks off in 2009 to develop a teaching plan the school’s assessor said it was “almost unbelievable that this represents six weeks work,” the charges say.

She was fined £100 in December 2007 at Lochmaddy Sheriff Court for driving pupils and other young people to Barra Airport without a full driving licence.

It was revealed Ms Ross was dismissed from Castlebay school in 2010, after watchdogs had stepped in to monitor the school.

The school acts as both a primary school and a high school.

A GTCS hearing will take place in Edinburgh later this month, and is due to continue into March.