Dunfermline Press

Fife teacher failed to raise alarm over rapist colleague

- By Ally McRoberts Reporter amcroberts@dunfermlin­epress.co.uk

A FIFE music teacher who failed to report allegation­s about her rapist colleague having sexual contact with a schoolgirl has been struck off.

Ellen Bogie was a friend and taught alongside Matthew Birch and when one of his victims confided in her she did not alert the authoritie­s and instead told him.

It was only when the schoolgirl spoke to the headteache­r that an investigat­ion was launched and Birch’s depraved campaign of rape, abuse and grooming against six female pupils was uncovered.

In February 2022 at the High Court in Glasgow, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison and his name was added to the sex offenders register.

After conducting a disciplina­ry investigat­ion Fife Council suspended Bogie in February 2022 and issued her with a final written warning in June 2022.

She was demoted from her role as a principal teacher and moved to a new school but resigned in September 2022.

Bogie, who has now been deemed unfit to teach and agreed to be removed from the teaching register for a period of 18 months, told a General Teaching Council for Scotland (GCTS) tribunal that she was “haunted every day” about what had happened to the pupil who confided in her.

Their report has now been issued and states: “The panel considered that this was a serious breach, she had informatio­n from a vulnerable child on which she did not act, and that the child was subject to abuse.

“The panel considered that the teacher had potentiall­y put other children at risk by not dealing promptly with the informatio­n disclosed to her.”

Allegation­s were levelled in April and, the following month, Bogie admitted all of them.

The GTCS said that when vulnerable Pupil A told the principal music teacher, in December 2018, that there had been “sexual contact” with Birch, she failed to follow child protection procedures.

And by failing to raise the alarm, she “potentiall­y placed other children at risk of harm”.

The panel decided that she also “lacked integrity” by sharing her mobile phone number with the pupil and later failing to block the pupil’s number when requested to do so.

Bogie accepted her fitness to teach was impaired, while also providing an “explanatio­n of mitigating circumstan­ces”.

The GTCS report noted that she “remains hopeful that she may be able to return to the profession someday”.

The panel took into account that she had “no previous history of misconduct”, testimonia­ls that said she had been “exemplary” in her role up to that point and that Birch, “who had been convicted of a criminal offence, had manipulate­d her”.

It said a re-occurrence was “unlikely” as Bogie was no longer working as a teacher.

The panel added: “She has carried out a detailed reflection with an honest view of her feelings about how she is haunted every day with what happened to Pupil A.

“She states on several occasions how this has affected her and others, demonstrat­ing a high level of remorse and insight into the effect of her actions, she has admitted all her actions and is aware of the impact of her actions on vulnerable Pupil A.”

At his trial in December 2021, Birch, now 47, was found guilty of nine sex offences between August 2004 and December 2018 while working at two unnamed high schools in Fife and North Lanarkshir­e.

The High Court in Glasgow heard that the music teacher classed female pupils as “fair game”.

He was described by prosecutor­s as a sexual “predator” who targeted girls who had musical talent, but often had personal issues.

Birch asked one girl to take part in a photoshoot before raping her at her home.

He raped another on several occasions at his home in Falkirk and engaged in sexual activity with others in his car, in classrooms and at an address in Edinburgh.

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 ?? Image: Newsquest ?? ACTION: Fife Council issued Ellen Bogie with a final written warning in June last year. She no longer works as a teacher.
Image: Newsquest ACTION: Fife Council issued Ellen Bogie with a final written warning in June last year. She no longer works as a teacher.

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