Teacher struck off after branding pupil “sperm boy”


A CHEMISTRY teacher who repeatedly called one of his pupils “sperm boy” in front of classmates, has been struck off.

Stephen Borthwick also openly discussed fellow teachers’ erections, compared “pulling” in a nightclub with chemical reactions, described one pupil as a “depressed weirdo”, and chucked a beaker of water over another.

The former teacher at Douglas Academy, Milngavie, East Dunbartonshire, even suggested to a pupil that he had spent time with prostitutes in Las Vegas and thrown beads at strippers to get them to flash their “bare breats”.

His former headteacher said never in his 20-year career could he recall another teacher “getting into so much bother so quickly”.

Mr Borthwick – described at the original hearing as an “arrogant” and “argumentative” young man who would not heed advice – had all eight charges against him found proven at the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

Mr Borthwick was sacked from his post in November 2013 and was not present at the hearing as he was said to be “travelling”.

The teacher, who taught general science to younger pupils, was struck off after the allegations against him, which related to the period February 2010 to August 2012, were found proved.

Mr Borthwick has been removed from the register after the charges against him were proven
Mr Borthwick has been removed from the register after the charges against him were proven


Carlo Roth, presenting the case for the GTCS, told a disciplinary panel: “In a previous Biology lesson, Mr Borthwick had asked a question to which Pupil 6 incorrectly replied with the word “sperm”.

“Mr Borthwick then referred to the pupil as ‘sperm boy’ for the next few lessons.”

Detailing Mr Borthwick’s discussion of fellow teachers’ erections, she continued: “A loud banging noise could be heard coming from upstairs. Mr Borthwick then said to his class, ‘Mr Hardie must be having an erection’. He then sent Pupil 7 to go and check what was causing the noise and when they returned, everyone laughed.”

Headteacher Seamus Black said that in over two decades in the profession had had “never encountered a teacher who has got into so much bother so quickly after starting a job and on so many occasions”.

Mr Black said: “I found him to be arrogant, unwilling to listen and unable to learn from others.”
The headteacher said Mr Borthwick’s behaviour resulted in complaints from parents. “We received a complaint from a parent via email on the 3rd of February 2011,” he said. “The parent alleged that Mr Borthwick had called a pupil ‘sperm boy’ in a science class he was taking. It was also said he had talked about his fellow teachers getting erections and engaging in sex.”

The headteacher described another occasion when a parent submitted a letter of complaint after he called a pupil a “depressed weirdo”.

“The parent also reported that he had used the analogy of ‘pulling’ in a nightclub to describe chemical reactions” said Mr Black.

He continued: “The pupil reported he had said ‘where would you have the best chance of attracting and reacting.”

The GTCS deemed that Mr Borthwick’s actions had fallen well below the expected standards that a teacher should uphold and that he had not shown any evidence that he had taken steps to remedy his behaviour.

Their decision read: “The Respondent had not provided any evidence of having remedied his conduct and, the evidence available to the Panel, demonstrated that the Respondent in fact thought his conduct was appropriate and acceptable.

“The Panel found that the Respondent had fallen significantly short of the standards expected of a registered teacher.

“The Respondent’s conduct took place over approximately 18 months and demonstrated a pattern of inappropriate behaviour despite the Respondent having been spoken to regarding his conduct by senior colleagues.

“The Panel was of the view that the public would lose confidence in GTCS as a regulator and
teaching as a profession if a finding of unfitness to teach was not made.”