Nursery worker took photo of soiled child

Audrey Robertson took the photo at Davidson's Mains Primary. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Audrey Robertson took the photo at Davidson's Mains Primary. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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A NURSERY worker took a picture of a three-year-old boy while he was undressed and covered in his own excrement in a flagrant abuse of her position at a city primary school.

Audrey Robertson took the sick snap at Davidson’s Mains Primary before showing it to colleagues.

The “humiliating” photo was deleted after it was seen by the shocked colleagues, who told her taking it was wrong. Robertson took the snap to show the toddler’s parents what she had to “deal with”.

The shocking “abuse of trust” emerged at a hearing to establish if Robertson should be struck off yesterday.

The cruel incident was among a series of acts committed against the youngster by the early years practitioner between August and October last year, the inquiry heard.

Robertson – subsequently sacked for gross misconduct – is also said to have raised her voice to the boy while he was trying to relieve himself, even though she knew he had difficulty using the toilet. Robertson, who has admitted a series of breaches of the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) code of conduct, faces being struck off after SSSC legal representatives said the “abuse” amounted to “exploitation” and constituted “a serious disregard for the code of practice”.

Martin Campbell, acting for the the SSSC, condemned the photo – which was taken without the boy’s knowledge.

He said only removal of Robertson from the professional register would reassure education leaders in Edinburgh that similar acts of misconduct involving other children would not occur in future.

He told the conduct hearing: “This should be considered an abuse of the service user. It is submitted that this is a clear exploitation of the child in that he had no knowledge of the event or choice in the 
matter.”

He added: “The child would have trusted other adults and should not have been ridiculed and humiliated.”

Yesterday’s hearing in Dundee took place in Robertson’s absence after she told committee members by e-mail that she would not attend.

Robertson – said to be “deeply ashamed” – has since apologised to the boy’s parents. The case has shocked other childrens’ workers.

Speaking away from the hearing, Karen Wilson, play leader at the Toddler Hut in Portobello, said: “I don’t think removal from the register is enough, she should be banned for life.”

The hearing continues today.