A TEACHER has been struck off for inappropriate behaviour towards a schoolgirl including telling her she was a “natural beauty” and that he wished he could see her dance.
James Jamieson also suggested to the 16-year-old pupil at Carnoustie High, Angus, that she should see him alone after school to work on a project.
The 65-year-old retired from his post four years ago but the decision of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) barrs him from returning to the profession.
A disciplinary hearing in Edinburgh heard a statement from the girl, who detailed Mr Jamieson’s behaviour in the period December 2011 to May 2012.
She said in the statement: “Thinking back, there have been a few strange things I remember him saying.
“I remember him saying, ‘I wish every pupil was like you’, and one time when I had dyed my hair he said I didn’t need to because, ‘You’re a natural beauty.’”
“One time when I was working on a computing project after school he said, ‘It was probably best if you come on your own’.”
The girl said Mr Jamieson also asked her for details of how to contact her on social media.
She said: “He asked me for my WhatsApp pin and gave me a pen and paper to ask for my phone number which made me feel really uncomfortable.”
He also contacted the girl via Word Feud – an online phone game.
She went on: “Not long after this he messaged me to see if I’d been studying and I replied that I’d been dancing to which he said something like, ‘This can be our secret’.
“When he messaged me again he told me he had been a long walk up the Lake District and then when I said I had been dancing he said, ‘I wish I could see that’.”
Doreen Redfern, the Deputy Head Teacher at Carnoustie High when the allegations were made, said that Mr Jamieson had been “evasive” when questioned on the matter.
Mrs Redfern said: “I do not think he appreciated the seriousness of the claims.
“Mr Jamieson said that Pupil 1 had persistently asked him to play Word Feud and insisted she initiated it.
“He didn’t seem to realise his responsibility to maintain professional distance.”
She continued: “For the age of the pupil and as it was in no way related to school, it was highly inappropriate.
“He was relaxed and evasive in the interview.”
Mr Jamieson was not present at the hearing but his lawyer, Alistair Milne, read out a statement in which the teacher said: “During a study period, pupils were playing
Word Feud and challenged me to play.
“I accept it was an ill judgement for me to accept.
“I would add that there’s no sinister subtext to my communications.
“I did not ask the pupil to stay behind by herself. All my pupils were asked to stay behind for extra support and my only intention was to give my pupils the best chance of passing their exams.
“Far from requesting her to be a friend on Facebook, I was requested by her, which I ignored as I only used Facebook to keep contact with close friends and family.”
Kate Hart, case presenter for the GTCS, said that public confidence in the teaching council would have been ‘damaged’ if Mr Jamieson’s fitness to teach was not found to be impaired.
She said: “There has been a lack of insight, remorse and awareness of the harm his actions have caused from Mr Jamieson.
“The public’s confidence in the GTCS as a regulator would be severely damaged if a finding of impairment was not found.”
Frieda Fraser, Chair of the GTCS panel, said that Mr Jamieson had been found unfit to teach and struck off the register.
The panel said they may refer Mr Jamieson to Scottish Ministers to be included on the list of those banned from working with children and vulnerable people. Mr Milne said this would be unreasonable as he client had no intention of returning to teaching.