Readers express sympathy for struck-off Moray teacher

Jane Callister – Sympathy after she was struck off for failing to report knife in school (pic: Facebook)

THE MORAY PRIMARY school teacher who was last week struck off the register by the General Teaching Council for Scotland has thanked insideMoray readers for their support.

Jane Callister has resigned from her job at Seafield Primary School in Elgin following the incident that led to her facing five charges from the teaching governing body.

She had admitted incidents between December 2014 and June 2015 that began when she discovered an all-purpose knife in the possessions of one of her pupils at the Moray school – but rather than taking the incident to the head teacher, she decided to deal with the matter herself.

Following our report of the GTCS decision on Saturday, dozens of messages of support for Ms Callister were sent to insideMoray through our social media page. Ms Callister had openly admitted that her actions in speaking to the boy’s family and subsequently trying to help him by inviting him to her own home were “an error in judgement”, adding that her intention throughout was innocent.

In a message to insideMoray readers, she said: “I would just like to thank Stuart for writing a balanced article and also the people who have given positive comments on this page.

“At the end of the day I was trying to help the boy in question but I do now recognise that my judgement was off – and this was partly to do with circumstances at that time that none of the press are privy to.

“I respect the decision that the GTCS made but I do want to make it clear that my intentions were always good.”

While several readers commented that any instance of a child taking a knife to school was serious and had to be reported, there was a great deal of sympathy for Ms Callister, who most accepted acted in a manner she felt was correct in the circumstances.

One current Moray teacher who did not wish to be named contacted insideMoray on Saturday to say: “It is the nightmare dilemma facing all teachers – knowing the children as we do, we can often see things that others perhaps cannot, we can have a sympathy for the outcomes they face if such matters are moved through official channels.

“This case is very unfortunate but underlines the realities that teachers face – we must protect the children in our charge, but we must also protect our own professional position.”

In their ruling the GTCS said that they would be writing to Ms Callister within two weeks to notify her how long she would need to wait before reapplying to work in the teaching profession.