Disgraced teacher touched breasts and told schoolboy he was “too sexy”

© DC ThomsonGillian Rew
Gillian Rew

Shocking details have revealed how a Tayside headteacher “held her breasts and made comments about them” and told a schoolboy his body was “too sexy”.

Gillian Rew also told a student that his chest “was better than her husband’s” whilst drunk on a school trip to Lockerbie in September 2014.

During the weekend away, the former Arbroath High School headteacher pulled herself up from the floor by holding onto a pupil’s ankles and held crisps between her breasts.

Despite the revelations, the former Morgan Academy depute has not been struck off the teaching register but has instead been given a two year Conditional Registration Order, which involves regular alcohol testing.

In September, the 49-year-old admitted to drinking eight glasses of wine on the trip before having “improper contact” with students at a General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS) hearing.

The headteacher, who was sacked from her £74,000-a-year post at the school following the incident, had already failed in a bid to have the hearing heard in private.

But her admission of guilt meant that details of the charges were not revealed in the hearing.

Details published by the GTCS on Wednesday revealed the extent of Mrs Rew’s behaviour.

She faces a two year Conditional Registration Order, which means she can remain on the register, but must comply to several conditions, including submitting samples, testing for alcohol in her blood, every six months.

The full document, detailing the outcome of Mrs Rew’s hearing, describes her conduct on the trip.

It states that the former headteacher “accepted that she had acted inappropriately in that she had: used inappropriate language, including swearing; told a male pupil to, “put his body away as it was too sexy” or words to that effect.

It adds that she “pulled herself up from the floor by holding onto a pupil’s ankles; touched a male pupil’s chest and stated, “it was better than her husband’s” or words to that effect.”

She also “held her breasts and made comments about them; entered pupils’ bedrooms, ate crisps and sweets and thereafter reached into her top to take crisps from between her breasts.”

The GTCS document reveals that the case panel decided that given the personal difficulties Mrs Rew was having, it would be unreasonable to declare her unfit to teach.

The document reads: “The Panel thought that, given the surrounding circumstances, to which it will return, and the fact that staff, pupils and parents had spoken up for the Respondent, it could treat the Respondent’s behaviour as falling short, if only by a very narrow margin, of the kind of fundamentally incompatible conduct that would have to result in a finding of unfitness to teach.”

Mrs Rew admitted in her hearing that she was “mortified” by her behaviour and at the time was drinking too much, partly as a result of working 14-hour days among hostile colleagues.

Mrs Rew also said that she did not think any of her pupils “would have been particularly alarmed” by the events at Lockerbie Manor in September 2014.

“I don’t think they would have been particularly traumatised,” she said. “I honestly don’t think they were uncomfortable – I think they thought it was a bit of light banter.”

She also confirmed that on the night in question she stayed up until four in the morning, and had drunk eight glasses of sauvignon blanc from a box.

She said that as a result she had no recollection of any of the misconduct.

After being questioned by GTCS case presenter Kate Hart she admitted that this quantity – estimated to be just over one bottle of wine – had never made her blackout before.

Outlining the reasons for her conduct, she said that she was dealing with issues with alcohol at the time and was in “great distress”

She said: “I was drinking more alcohol than was good for me.”

She also said that other members of staff were “behaving in a fashion that was hostile and undermining” to her role at the time.

And she outlined how she was working long days – starting at 7.45am and finishing at 7pm, before working for three more hours at home each night.

Discussing her decision to take wine on the school trip, she said: “I honestly don’t think that I was in a particularly good place to make proper cognitive decisions.”

Seeking to remain on the register, Mrs Rew said said that she had undergone therapy and alcohol counselling since the event.

She also said that she was “devastated” and “ashamed” by her actions, and said: “I hope that there’s no lasting impact in the young people apart from the adverse publicity for the school.”

Mrs Rew – now employed by teaching union EIS – said: “My days of leading a school are gone.

“The most I would hope would be to retain my teaching registration.”

The panel at the hearing also heard from Andrena Waghorn, head teacher at Craigie High School in Dundee, who has known Mrs Rew for 20 years.

She said Mrs Rew was a “professional, committed and enthusiastic” and “held in very high regard by her colleagues in Dundee.”