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Fife teacher struck off for failing to report rapist colleague’s sexual contact with pupil

Ellen Bogie told rapist Matthew Birch about the allegations against him instead of alerting the authorities.

Matthew Birch
Ellen Bogie told Matthew Birch (pictured) about his victim's allegations instead of the authorities.

A Fife teacher who failed to report allegations a rapist colleague had been having a sexual contact with a pupil has been struck off.

Ellen Bogie had been contacted by a vulnerable girl who said music teacher Matthew Birch had abused her.

Bogie, a principal music teacher at a high school in Fife, did not immediately disclose the claims to bosses when they emerged in 2018 but instead, contacted Birch.

Police were only alerted when the pupil returned to the school the following year and spoke to the head teacher.

Birch was later jailed for 11 years for raping two pupils and having sex while in a position of trust at schools in North Lanarkshire and Fife.

Matthew Birch
Matthew Birch arrives at court last year.

His horrific offending had involved six female pupils.

Quit after final warning

Bogie was given a final written warning by Fife Council following an investigation by education bosses in June 2022.

She quit her job but a panel of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) has ruled she was unfit to teach.

Bogie told a hearing she agreed to have her name removed from the teaching register for at least 18 months.

The GTCS said Bogie failed to follow child protection procedures when the former pupil told her about contact between herself and Birch while she was at the school.

They found Bogie’s lack of action potentially placed other children at risk of harm.

They further found she wrongly shared her personal mobile phone number with the pupil and failed to block her phone number when requested to do so in 2018.

They found her actions lacked integrity and left her unfit to teach.

Failings accepted

In May this year Bogie told the tribunal she accepted the seriousness of her failings.

She admitted she received information which meant she knew there had been sexual contact between the pupil and Birch and that other children were potentially at risk of harm from him

In a written ruling, the GTCS said: “The panel found that it is unlikely that there will be a reoccurrence as the teacher is not currently teaching.

“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 is now in a job outwith teaching but that does not preclude the fact that she could move into another job.

“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.

“In all the circumstances, the panel found that the shortfalls had been remedied and that reoccurrence was not likely.”

‘Unfit to teach’

They added: “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 could not ascertain steps which she had taken to rebuild trust.

“In all the circumstances the panel considered that the teacher was unfit to teach and had fallen significantly short of the standards for registration.”

Fife Council declined to comment, having previously refused to answer questions surrounding the case.

Found guilty after trial

Birch, a former police officer, was jailed at the High Court in Glasgow last year after a trial that forced some of his victims to give evidence.

He insisted during his trial nothing inappropriate had taken place but he was found guilty of nine charges which took place between 2006 and 2017.