September 2009

Sex teacher struck off at hearing

A former Aberdeen teacher who had sex with a 15-year-old pupil has been struck off after a disciplinary hearing.

Alison Smith, who was a teacher at the city’s Bankhead Academy, confessed her behaviour to church associates and her parents before going to the police.

Smith was placed on probation and given 200 hours community service in January.

She was struck off at the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) conviction hearing on Monday.

Smith had been charged in July last year over the allegations of an inappropriate relationship.

The incident had happened last June when Smith was visited at home by the pupil. There she had what she described as consensual sex with him.

One of the boy’s parents said in a written testimonial to Aberdeen Sheriff Court it had not had any long-term psychological effect on him.

Sheriff Kieran McLernan told Smith: “On the face of it, this offence is normally regarded with considerable seriousness because it’s one form of a significant abuse of trust.

“It was an effect of your own conscience which brought this matter to light.

“Human weakness is not often best dealt with by public punishment but it is a matter of public interest where there is a breach of trust.”

Smith was also placed on the sex offenders register.

‘Breach of trust’

The GTCS committee unanimously ruled that Smith – who was not at the hearing – should be removed from the teaching register.

The committee was told that Smith had written to the GTCS, stating: “I wish to be removed from the register effective immediately. I accept my actions will see me removed from the register.”

Announcing the decision, committee convener James Thewliss said the offence was a “grave breach of trust”.

He said: “In the public interest young people should be protected from this kind of behaviour.

“Accordingly there was no option but to remove her name from the register.”