A FORMER-island teacher who put children’s lives at risk by driving them around without a licence is trying to return to the classroom.
Janice Ross was struck off from the teaching register in 2014 after a General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) panel said she had “extensive failings” in her treatment of pupils.
The English and Modern Studies teacher was found to have driven pupils around in an uninsured car while not even having a licence in Barra, Outer Hebrides in 2007.
Mrs Ross, who was a secondary teacher at Castlebay Community School on the island, was also found to have “victimised” certain pupils.
However, seven years on from the GTCS decision Mrs Ross has now lodged an application to the GTCS to be let back into the classroom.
Speaking today at a GTCS subsequent registration application Hearing, Mrs Ross said: “I spent 16 years as a good teacher and within one year, I was ruined and stripped of my livelihood.
“I completely lost my way after my removal.”
Mrs Ross claims that when she arrived at Castlebay School it was a “toxic” work environment which made her wish she was dead.
She said: “I feel my professionalism unraveled when I arrived at Barra.
“It was a toxic environment and made me want to die. Leaving was a godsend.”
Mrs Ross’s husband Robert Ross represented his wife at the hearing and claimed that a “clique” of colleagues ganged up on his spouse.
He said: “A campaign was launched by a clique to undermine her and her teaching ability after she became principal faculty teacher.
“She taught her pupils to the best of her ability and not once was her teaching ever criticised.”
Mr Ross also said: “I want to stress that my wife was an aspiring teacher to every pupil she taught.”
Mrs Ross backed her case that she should be allowed to teach again, saying: “What I’m trying to present is that I possess the skills to be a classroom teacher.
“I am completely committed to creating a positive classroom environment.”
She continued: “I have had considerable time to reflect and analyse on my time at Castlebay School.
“Other than the complete stupidity of my driving offence.”
Mrs Ross was fined £100 and given six penalty points at Lochmaddy Sheriff Court in December 2007 over her driving offences.
During her initial hearing which saw her being struck off, the GTCS panel found her “likely to repeat” failures and shortcomings instead of remedying them in any way.
The GTCS found her to have: “Extensive failings in the respondent’s treatment of pupils, having a clique of favourites and victimising others.”
The 2014 hearing heard she called her favourite pupils “groupies” and humiliated those she did not like.
The panel was told how she would make “snide remarks” in her class about another teacher.
Evidence at the hearing included her failing to alert the school to a pupil who had left the island with her 24-year-old boyfriend.
It was at this hearing where it emerged that Mrs Ross drove pupils in a car when she did not have a full driving licence and had no insurance.
During her sabbatical, the former teacher has written a book and hosted a radio show on the island.
The hearing continues.