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Inverness Drummond School teacher fit to teach despite admitting driving a minibus knowing pupil did not have a seatbelt on

By Alan Shields

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Drummond School.
Drummond School.

An Inverness teacher has avoided punishment despite admitting driving a minibus knowing that a pupil did not have a seatbelt on.

Muriel Craig faced a fitness to teach hearing before the General Teaching Council of Scotland in connection with three allegations of misconduct.

At the outset the secondary school teacher admitted driving a minibus knowing that a pupil had failed to put a seatbelt on.

The incident took place on January 23, 2018, at Broomhill Riding Centre, Fortrose.

She also faced two further allegations.

One was that she swore at a different pupil in a Home Economics class on January 26, 2018.

She was also said to have used used "inappropriate physical force" on the same pupil in preventing him leaving a classroom on the same day.

Ms Craig was at the time and still is a teacher at the city's Drummond School.

She denied the two allegations against her and that she had "no recollection" of them ever happening.

The hearing panel were told Ms Craig was suspended from the school on February 1, 2018, and faced a local authority disciplinary hearing on May 17 that year.

As part of the disciplinary process she agreed to relinquish her minibus driving licence, the panel heard, and that she had no intention of ever holding one again.

The fitness to teach hearing heard that Ms Craig was positive she would not have sworn back at a pupil but that she may have substituted the words “hell” or “crap” for any swear word used by a pupil.

The teacher had no recollection of the incident with Pupil B at the classroom 13 door, as per the third allegation.

She told the panel that Pupil B was known to run out of classrooms on a frequent basis.

However, in the panel's findings, they stated: “On the basis of the evidence before it, the panel was satisfied that, on the balance of probabilities, the teacher had used inappropriate language to Pupil B by swearing at him.”

The third allegation was found not proven.

The panel stated that that Ms Craig was "occasionally vague in her evidence and would not provide specific answers even when questioned in detail".

They added: "The panel considered her recollection in relation to allegations two and three to be surprisingly poor in regard to such significant alleged events which had occurred in such close proximity in time to allegation one, which she recalled in detail."

However they said the shortfalls in Ms Craig's behaviour had been remedied as much as possible and took into account that four years had passed.

They there was no indication of a wider pattern of behaviour and that there had been no further reported incidents.

Ms Craig was ruled fit to continue teaching.

She had applied for anonymity but the panel said the decision was of "significant" public interest.

A Highland Council spokeswoman said: "We cannot comment on personnel matters."

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