Shamed headteacher fails in bid to keep “inappropriate” behaviour hearing secret

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A SHAMED headteacher has failed in a bid to have allegations of improper contact involving pupils heard in secret.

Gillian Rew was sacked from her £74,000-per-year post in September last year after allegedly getting drunk with sixth year students during a school trip.

The 49-year-old former head of Arbroath High School in Angus asked Scotland’s teaching watchdog to hear the charges against her behind close doors.

Mrs Rew is accused of being under the influence of alcohol, breaching child protection rules, and having improper contact with pupils.

But the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) threw out the application saying it was in the public interest for the hearing to be held in open session, apart from evidence relating to her marriage.

The GTCS has now revealed the full charges against Mrs Rew all of which relate to an adventure weekend trip to Lockerbie Manor in September 2014.

 

The "respondent" is not expected to attend
The GTCS threw out the application for the hearing to be held in private

 

They allegations state: “Whilst you were attending an S6 residential excursion at Lockerbie Manor, Lockerbie you did whilst having control of S6 pupils and also being the Child Protection Designated Officer for the excursion, consume alcohol and you were under the influence of alcohol.

“As a consequence of the above, you were in breach of Angus Council’s Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures for Educational Excursions.”

The charges add: “And, thereafter, whilst under the influence of alcohol, you engaged in inappropriate conversations with, made inappropriate comments to and had improper contact with pupils.

“In light of the above it is alleged that your fitness to teach is impaired and you are unfit to teach as a result of breaching…the General Teaching Council for Scotland’s Code of Professionalism and Conduct 2012.”

 

The former head teacher lost her £74,000 a year job
The former head teacher lost her £74,000 a year job  (copyright Gillian Rew)

 

During a procedural hearing on Wednesday, the panel read out a letter from Mrs Rew’s clinical psychologist stating that at the time of the complaint Mrs Rew was in “ill health”.

Dr Alison Harper suggested there would be an adverse detrimental impact on the Mrs Rew’s ability to provide evidence if the hearing was heard in public.

Mrs Rew’s representative added that the case “goes beyond distress and embarrassment” because his respondent had been diagnosed with a clinical condition and potential harm could be avoided.

He later stated the process will be distressing, upsetting and will provoke anxiety for Mrs Rew.

Balancing these concerns and the public interest, the panel concluded the hearing should be heard in public with exception of evidence relating to Mrs Rew’s marriage and family circumstances.

Since the allegations came to light, social media has been awash with rumour and speculation over what exactly happened during the trip.

Among the lurid claims online are those of a former pupil who claimed: “Apparently steaming on a camping trip and flirting with the boys. Heard she dropped crisps down her top and got one boy’s head to ‘Come and get them’ haha.”

Another student wrote: “Everyone defending her, she would grope anyone that had a packet of crisps in their hands.”

Yet another claimed: “Mrs Rew came to a party with us as well and k’oed on the couch, that’s the way teachers should be. Godbless Gillian Rew.”

However many pupils went online to defend their former headmistress saying the claims were exaggerated and that she transformed the school and was great at her job.

One school girl said: Omg Mrs Rew. She was suspended for being drunk at the residential. It’s so unfair. It’s not like she harmed any of us.”

Another schoolboy wrote: “Sacking Mrs Rew proves Angus Council have an absolute zero banter policy. The amount she did for the school was unreal and for her to go like that is tragic.”

It is believed that Angus Council became aware of Mrs Rew’s alleged drunken behaviour after receiving a complaint from a concerned parent.

She was suspended from her job shortly after the trip and a police investigation was launched.

The case was eventually dropped and prosecutors in Scotland declined to charge her.
Before being appointed for the top job at Arbroath High School, she was depute rector of Morgan Academy in Dundee.

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