'Sarcastic' and 'aggressive' business studies teacher struck off

‘Sarcastic, boastful and aggressive’ business studies teacher is struck off for ‘erratic physical behaviour’, lying down in the corridor and mocking pupils

  • Teacher who mocked and shouted at pupils struck off from Westhill Academy
  • Andrew Gibson, employed by Aberdeenshire Council, was described as ‘sarcastic, boastful, and aggressive’ by pupils who gave evidence against him
  • He often lay on the floor of the corridor and refused to teach certain students 
  • Gibson told class he stole hundreds of chocolate bars from a previous school

An Aberdeenshire teacher has been struck off after being found guilty of a catalogue of inappropriate behaviour, including lying on the floor in a corridor and mocking and shouting at pupils.

Andrew Gibson was a teacher of business studies at Westhill Academy between February and December 2017, employed by Aberdeenshire Council.

During his time at the school there were serious concerns raised about his behaviour from colleagues, as well as pupils and their parents, a General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) hearing was told.

This included telling pupils not to applaud a classmate’s presentation, lying in the corridor of the school on several occasions, and mimicking a pupil by ‘flicking his head’.

Gibson said that he had actually been trying to swat a fly – an explanation described as ‘preposterous’.

One pupil said Gibson had told the class he stole hundreds of chocolate bars from a previous school, and that the detail in the story made him believe it to be true.

His explanation that it was a fake story ‘used as a teaching aide’ was not believed.

Andrew Gibson was a teacher of business studies at Westhill Academy between February and December 2017, employed by Aberdeenshire Council

One pupil described him as ‘sarcastic, boastful, and aggressive’, adding that he regularly shouted in classes, sometimes ‘screaming’ at the students.

Gibson did not attend proceeding and he was not represented. He had initially faced 21 separate allegations, eight of which he admitted and the rest he denied, with two dismissed before the hearing.

Despite his admission of guilt of the eight allegations, Gibson denied his fitness to teach was impaired.

The hearing was told the head teacher first had ‘serious concerns’ about Gibson’s behaviour in September 2017, just seven months after taking up his post at the school.

‘Several’ complaints were made to Aberdeenshire Council, the panel was told. 

The unnamed head teacher said that she had ‘concerns’ about Gibson’s ‘tendency to misrepresent what had been said in meetings’ and that he had ‘erratic behaviour, particularly physically’.

It was agreed with Gibson that he would ‘work on moderating the loudness of his voice’.

The deputy head of the school, known only as ‘Teacher 1’ said she knew Gibson prior to his arrival at Westhill. 

The number of complaints about Gibson meant that ‘as time went on it became apparent that there were significant concerns with his learning and teaching along with his professional relationship with his colleagues’, adding that she had made ‘every feasible adjustment’ to help him professionally.

‘She had never before seen a teacher so disengaged with the support provided for them than Gibson, and he had refused to accept responsibility for his behaviour’, the hearing was told. 

She described a meeting when Gibson ‘blocked the exit’ to the room, ‘cowered in a corner’ and then ‘made remarks about her hitting him’.

He cowered in a corner of the room and stated: ‘What would it look like if someone passed your office and I am in the corner, like the deputy head teacher was hitting me?’ 

She confirmed that the incident ‘had alarmed her personally and professionally’ and she immediately reported it to the head teacher.

Gibson ‘reacted badly and became upset’ whenever concerns were raised with him, the hearing was told.

The deputy head teacher said Gibson was guilty of ‘misrepresenting the truth’ on many occasions and that he had ‘blatantly lied’ about situations.

She said Gibson had been seen by a senior pupil and the head of the mathematics department ‘lying sprawled out on the floor in the school corridor whilst his class was unattended’. 

Gibson was said to have denied this and had explained he had been ‘trying to bend down to a pupil’s level to console him’.

 Teachers giving evidence against Gibson said he ‘blatantly lied’ about situations. Pupils who gave evidence said he was often ‘sarcastic, boastful, and aggressive’

The hearing was told ‘pupils had reported to her being scared to ask Gibson for help for fear of his ridicule of them and the overall lack of support provided by him’.

Gibson described work carried out by Pupil C as ‘horribly wrong’ in front of a class.

He told pupils in a class that if they did not do well enough in an assessment, they would be removed from the course when this was not the case, causing distress to Pupil D.

Gibson also refused to assist pupils when they were asking for his help. 

A third teacher gave evidence relating to the allegation about Gibson refusing to teach a pupil who removed her jumper in class.

The pupil stated that due to the heat within the classroom she had removed her jumper and that Gibson had refused to teach her unless she put it back on, the third teacher said in evidence.

The man, who was a guidance teacher, advised Gibson that the removal of a jumper ‘was not a reason to refuse to teach a pupil’.

Gibson then ‘expressed concerns about being left open to that level of risk in the current climate’.

The guidance teacher managed to allay the situation, but ‘did not understand Gibson’s position as the pupil was not inappropriately attired nor was her clothing demonstrably different to other female pupils within the class’. 

He said that a ‘low level’ incident had become much larger due to Gibson’s behaviour, and that he had concerns about Gibson’s ‘very strange comments and behaviour’ – adding that he reported the jumper incident to the head teacher as a result.

The hearing was told another teacher covered the class for Gibson, on his return to teaching them, ‘he had taken 20 minutes of the lesson to “shame” the covering teacher’, and ‘exhibited anger and rage, accusing pupils of having “gone behind his back” to complain about his teaching’. 

Gibson’s name was ordered to be removed from the GTC Scotland Register of Teacher

Gibson’s line manager, the principal teacher for business studies at the school, was the fourth colleague to give evidence.

He said that at a parents’ evening, concerns were raised by a number of parents regarding a number of issues including homework concern slips, pupils ‘being picked on’ and pupils being called an incorrect name intentionally.

The principal teacher stated ‘that it was as if Gibson had no self-awareness of taking responsibility for matters and that the viewed himself as being picked on’.

He told the panel that Gibson had made ‘derogatory remarks’ about another teacher, and described him as ‘awkward and very reluctant to accept any requirement on his part to improve his work and deliberate in his misnaming of pupils’.  

The presenting officer for the GTCS said that the witnesses who had given evidence had done so ‘honestly, clearly, consistently and that none had displayed any animosity towards Gibson’. 

‘The witnesses were objective and their evidence was consistent with the facts which were known and other evidence before it,’ the GTCS said. 

The pupils had given evidence ‘openly and clearly’ and ‘did not appear to have any personal interest in the outcome of the hearing’. 

Because he was absent, Gibson gave no evidence and had not provided a witness statement to the GTCS. 

Finding him unfit to teach, the presenting officer said: ‘…in terms of the seriousness, when viewed collectively, the allegations found proved were very serious.’ 

Gibson’s name was ordered to be removed from the GTC Scotland Register of Teacher. He has 28 days to appeal to the Court of Session.

An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said: ‘We note the decision of the tribunal. The member of staff is no longer employed by the council.’

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