A Birkenshaw man jailed for secretly filming the private parts of pupils and young girls at the primary school where he worked has now been banned from teaching.
James Hughes, of Dechmont Gardens, used his phone and iPad to record pupils after taking them out of class for one-to-one lessons. He would get the girls to stand on chairs and put their legs up in the air while he recorded them under a desk.
Hughes, who was a principal teacher at a school in North Lanarkshire, was exposed when three teenagers who were doing work experience at his school caught him filming them.
One of the girls sneaked into his office and discovered photos of herself on his iPad and reported Hughes to the headteacher. Police were contacted and a search of his school office and home uncovered 260 images and 79 recordings on his phone and computers.
At Airdrie Sheriff Court last year Hughes admitted two charges of secretly filming and photographing girls aged between eight and 16 and sentenced to 18 months in prison and placed on the sex offender registry.
The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) carried out it’s own investigation, and having found he had shown no remorse for his crimes and was likely to reoffend they struck him off their register.
Its fitness-to-teach panel also dismissed a request by Hughes to be given anonymity, stating that publishing his name was “necessary to maintain the public’s confidence in the teaching profession”.
A report published on the GTCS website reads: “The Panel determined that the conviction represented conduct of the utmost seriousness, in that it related to sexual offences against young pupils
“Given the nature and seriousness of the conduct, the Panel determined that, at the time of the offences, the Teacher’s conduct had fallen significantly short of the standards expected of a registered teacher.
“The Panel had been provided with no evidence regarding any remedial steps taken by the Teacher, nor of any remorse on his part. The Panel considered that the Teacher’s conduct was highly likely to recur, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary.
“Given the lack of evidence relating to the Teacher’s remediation/remorse, the Panel determined that the Teacher is currently unfit to teach.
“ In addition, the Panel considered that a finding of the Teacher being unfit to teach was necessary in the public interest; the Panel was of the view that the conduct was fundamentally incompatible with being a registered teacher and that the public would expect a teacher who had been convicted of such offences to be removed from the Register as soon as possible.”
Given his existing criminal conviction had already proven his guilt Hughes was offered a Removal with Consent Order to avoid the need for a lengthy hearing, which he accepted, and will be prohibited from applying again for registration for the maximum period of two years.