Ex-schools boss on rap over data
Teacher avoids strike-off
North Lanarkshire Council’s former education chief has been reprimanded for providing false data to the Scottish Government over teacher numbers.
The former executive director of learning and leisure services, Andrew Sutherland, admitted charges of misconduct after falsifying data to avoid the council being hit by financial sanctions.
Sutherland was suspended by the council in November 2015 and resigned in February 2016 in the wake of the allegations.
However, at a General Teaching Council for Scotland disciplinary hearing, Sutherland, a history teacher, avoided being struck off but was reprimanded – which will remain on his record for six months.
The panel’s summary of the case states: “The anticipated figure would not have made the Government target and would have resulted in the council being hit with a significant fine.
“The t e a c h e r ’s intention had been to save the council from embarrassment and a financial penalty.
“He accepted the ser i ousness of the allegation.
“He submitted that the conduct was isolated and out of character.”
The panel also found that although the allegations against Sutherland were “very serious”he had obtained favourable references from his current and past employers.
The panel stated: “The conduct constituted an abuse of a position of trust.
However, harm had not been caused to any pupil.
“The teacher had admitted the misconduct.
“Further, the teacher had reflected on the matter, had shown genuine remorse and had taken steps to remediate. In particular, he had been candid with his present employer.
“The issue represented an isolated incident and there had been no repetition since nor did the panel consider that there was a risk of recurrence.”
In 2015, the Scottish Government ’ s then Finance Secretary John Swinney warned councils which failed to maintain teacher numbers and their pupil-teacher ratio would have their share of a £ 51 million funding package to boost the figures clawed back.
North Lanarkshire Council’s anticipated f i g u re s f rom 2014 would not have met the Government target and could have resulted in a significant fine.
A spokesman for the council said: “Mr Sutherland no longer works for the council.
“We do not comment on the individual circumstances of our employees either past or present.” Hundreds of families in North Lanarkshire have seen their incomes cut by the new Tory benefit cap, startling new figures have revealed.
A total of 553 households have been affected, with 301 of these single parent families.
And 71 families have lost out on more than £100 per week after being hit by the UK Government’s benefit cap.
MSP for Motherwell and Wishaw, Clare Adamson has criticised the “heartless” Tory austerity which she believes is driving up child poverty and dependence on foodbanks.
She said: “North Lanarkshire has been hit hard by the benefit cap, as well as a host of other Tory welfare cuts – including the freeze on working-age benefits, unfair sanctions and the rollout of Universal Credit. It is a disgrace that 71 households have lost out on more than £100 per week, with single parent families in North Lanarkshire being worst hit.
“Our welfare system is meant to be a safety net to help those most in need - instead the Tories punish the poorest in society, taking money from families who are already struggling to get by.
“The UK government should be deeply ashamed of stripping the income of families across North Lanarkshire and driving up child poverty.”
Last month, the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation revealed that around 230,000 Scottish children are living in relative poverty, claiming the rise since 2010 was “mainly due to UK Government-imposed social security cuts”.
Anger Wishaw MSP Clare Adamson
Reprimand Andrew Sutherland