A teacher has admitted having sexual relations with a teenage pupil – but claims he is still fit to teach.
Ross Spittal, a former teacher from Inveralmond Community High School in West Lothian, Scotland had sex with the pupil at his home on at least two occasions.
The 31-year-old maths teacher, from Bishopton, Renfrewshire, began a romantic relationship with the teenager, believed to be 18 at the time, in 2019.
The relationship was outed when Ross’ girlfriend at the time, Kim Smyth, found over 800 emails between the pair on the couple’s shared computer.
At a hearing in front of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) today (MON) Smyth, 32, revealed that she found the messages on pupil teacher portal, Glow.
Smyth was tearful as she recounted the moment she found out about the affair and discovered naked images of the schoolgirl that were sent to Spittal.
Spittal admitted the relationship but said he believes he should still be allowed to teach.
Referring to the former schoolgirl, Smyth said: “I was aware of Pupil A for years. It was a running joke in the school that she fancied Ross.
“It was surprising for pupils to have a crush on him, but I didn’t think he would act on it. I saw that he was searching for Pupil A on Facebook.
“He said he was feeling low about teaching and he was looking for nice messages pupils wrote about him on Facebook. He was messaging the pupil using Glow at late times.
“The chat and banter you’d expect with a friend. We were friendly with a lot of Ross’s colleagues. We would go on nights out and we went to some of their weddings.
“They would tell me he was well liked by pupils, especially Pupil A. He always brushed it off.”
Smyth added: “One Saturday night at about 2am, me and Ross were sitting in drinking and he kept looking at his phone. He was messaging Pupil A on Glow.
“I thought it was extremely odd behaviour.
“The day I came across the emails on our laptop, a message popped up at the bottom of the screen, she was emailing him.
“When I opened the conversation it was happening there and then, they were planning on meeting up.
“On 22 May 2019 I discussed a number of emails between him and Pupil A.
“I found 800 emails between the two dating back to early 2019.
“There were naked pictures of Pupil A.
“I was literally seeing naked photos of her as I was speaking to him on the phone.
“He asked me not to tell the police or the school.”
Smyth told the council one email read: “Kim is at work, you can come over.”
On not phoning the police, she said: “It’s something I regret now.
“I was in complete shock and I was heartbroken.
“It was in his hands to say what he had done.”
Police Scotland found that no criminality had occurred after the relationship was later reported to them.
At the time, Smyth had been in a relationship with Spittal for five years and had been living together for three.
Spittal’s legal rep Claire Raftery said her client admits all allegations brought to him by the GTCS.
He admitted kissing the sixth year pupil after an Easter school session in April 2019.
He also had sexual relations with the same girl at his home in April 2019.
In May 2019, Spittal told the school’s head teacher that there was “nothing going on at all” between himself and the pupil.
Today, he admitted to being dishonest about the relationship.
It is believed that Spittal is still in a relationship with the former pupil.
The GTCS investigation will determine whether Spittal should remain on the teaching register and be allowed back in the classroom.
The hearing continues.
Susanne Young, 50, Head Teacher of Inveralmond told the hearing that concerns were raised when Pupil A took on the role of supporting Spittal’s maths class, though nothing was initially found to be untoward.
She spoke to the teacher about “professional boundaries” and the teen was no longer allowed to support the class.
But she recalled another teacher feeling uncomfortable when they saw Pupil A sitting alone in Spittal’s room.
He was “shaking” as he told the head teacher about the nature of their relationship in May 2019.
Spittal told her they first kissed after an Easter school session and later had sex twice.
But during a meeting with the girl’s mum, the parent said she didn’t think the “mistake” should impact his employment.
She also stated: “I was not aware of the standing joke (that pupil A ‘fancied’ Spittal) and if I was, it would have been thoroughly investigated.”
She was then asked if she would ever employ him in the future: “I wouldn’t offer him a job in my school again.”
Spittal will next appear in court on February 7.