Edinburgh teacher accused of making boy sit in underwear could be struck off

The alleged incidents occurred at Gylemuir Primary School. Picture: Ian Georgeson
The alleged incidents occurred at Gylemuir Primary School. Picture: Ian Georgeson

A retired Edinburgh primary teacher faces being struck off after claims he punished a pupil by making him “sit in his underwear.”

Terence Anthony has been accused of making the boy sit in his pants as a punishment for speaking, leaving the youngster “embarrassed and upset.”

The primary three teacher, who has now retired, is also alleged to have made physical contact by lifting another pupil with autism “off the ground by her wrist.”

The incidents are said to have taken place whilst Mr Anthony was working at Gylemuir Primary in Edinburgh in 2015 and was suspended from the school shortly after.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) has been hearing evidence this week as well as from Mr Anthony himself who denies claims against him.

The allegations state: “On 16 November 2015, whilst employed by Edinburgh City Council at School A, you did make physical contact with Pupil A, forcibly move her by her shoulders, lift her from a table and thereafter attempted to lift her off the ground by her wrist which caused said pupil distress.

“In or around September 2015 whilst employed as a teacher by Edinburgh City Council at School A you did insist that Pupil B sit in his underwear as punishment for speaking which caused the pupil to become embarrassed and upset.”

Mr Anthony has said that he was waiting on his class getting ready for a PE lesson when the alleged underwear incident with the boy is meant to have taken place.

During the hearing at the GTCS this week, Mr Anthony claims that he “was not aware of the boy as an individual” at the time as he was making sure the class got ready quickly.

He said the classroom noise was getting louder than normal and he shouted “freeze” to quieten the children down.

“I had no focus on Pupil B at all. I could not tell if he was sitting or standing up,” he said.

Mr Anthony said it was possible that the child could have been sitting down when he shouted “freeze” to the class.

He said: “He was in no different position to a number of other children.”

Mr Anthony said the instruction he used was a common one in schools across the country.

Relating to the pupil lifting incident, the girl’s mother was present at the hearing on Monday. She had not been made aware of the shoulder incident. However she believed that “lifting would be the last resort.”

In the same incident, the hearing was told that the child was sitting on a table and holding a chair in front of her.

Laura Ritchie, a teaching assistant who worked with the child at the time, claimed that Mr Anthony “was using his thumbs to prise her fingers off the back legs.”

In relation to Pupil A, Mr Anthony refuted the claims made against him. The child, with additional support needs, is alleged to have been forcibly moved by her shoulders to remove her from sitting on a table.

He said: “I do not think it is possible to lift someone by the shoulders.

“I simply slid her forward. There was no upward movement of her body.”

Mr Anthony did not wish to comment at this time on the allegations when he was approached.

The City of Edinburgh Council said he was no longer employed by the Council and it would be inappropriate to comment as the hearing was ongoing.

The case at the GTCS has been adjourned until a later date before a final decision is made on Mr Anthony’s fitness to teach.

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