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New boss of cheating Aberdeen teacher pleads for watchdog to show mercy despite ‘horrific’ misconduct

Albyn School
Albyn School

The new bosses of a cheating teacher have appealed for education watchdogs not to ban him from the classroom despite his “horrific” misconduct.

Scott Brown, who is an English teacher at the independent Albyn School in Aberdeen, has admitted behaviour that was “dishonest” and “lacking integrity”.

While employed as a teacher at Oldmachar Academy in the 2017/18 academic year, Mr Brown handed in fraudulent assignments to the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), and admitted to making hundreds of alterations to student coursework.

This week he is facing a hearing before the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

On Tuesday he conceded that he was “horrified” by his own actions, which impacted on the results of up to 22 youngsters.

But he is protesting against being struck off, arguing to the panel of GTCS representatives that his fitness to teach has not been  impaired.

Mr Brown claimed he had been “overworked” due to running several classes, and was suffering from mental health challenges at the time.

And bosses and colleagues at his new school said they were aware of the matter when they took Mr Brown on – and added that they would be “very sorry to lose” the “experienced, passionate, and knowledgeable teacher” who has “learned from this serious error of judgement”.

‘Very serious issue’

Louise Webster, the head of English at Albyn, said she trusts him as a member of staff “without reservation”.

Mrs Webster said: “Scott has had time to process what he did. He understands the nature of the charges against him, and that it is a very serious issue.

“He freely admits what he did and that he should not have done it.

“He is making every effort to prove that he is worthy of the trust that people place in him.

“Scott is very good at teaching, and has a lot to offer.

“I would be very sorry to lose him as a member of my staff.”

Fellow English teacher Scott Howden also spoke highly of Mr Brown in the hearing, describing him as an “experienced, passionate and knowledgeable teacher”.

He also highlighted extracurricular efforts he has arranged for pupils, including the creation of a science fiction and fantasy lunch club for youngsters.

Mr Howden said: “Scott wholeheartedly accepts that what he did was wrong, he agrees with me that he should have taken proactive steps before the matter escalated, and accepts that he must do this from now on.”

Albyn’s acting head David Starbuck also appeared in the hearing.

When asked if he believed there was “any risk that Mr Brown could act dishonestly again”, he told the panel he couldn’t see “any likelihood that would happen again”.

Mr Starbuck said: “Mr Brown has satisfied the school in that he has learned from this serious error of judgement at an earlier point in his career and has developed into a truly excellent teacher respected by his colleagues and students.”

When he was giving evidence earlier this week, Mr Brown told the online hearing that as he began to realise pupils had run out of time to complete vital assignments, he “panicked” as he was “scared of the outcome”.

Mr Brown said he made the “serious error of judgement” in choosing to make hundreds of changes to student’s work online.

And when he was initially confronted by senior teachers about the issues with the assignments, the GTCS hearing heard that Mr Brown had lied and claimed students had been copying each other in their own time.

The hearing continues.

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