Teen joked about fancying teacher before he was busted for having sex with her

A Scottish maths teacher admitted to having an affair with an 18-year-old pupil after his girlfriend found naked pictures of the teenager – who had joked about "fancying" him at school – on his phone.

Ross Spittal, 31, from Bishopton in Renfrewshire, was busted when his partner of five years Kim Smyth, 32, discovered 800 flirty messages and explicit pictures that he had exchanged with his pupil.

Despite admitting to a teaching tribunal that he had sex with the teenager while his partner was at work, Mr Spittal, a former teacher at Inveralmond Community High School in West Lothian, maintains that he is still fit to teach.

At a hearing in front of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) on Monday, Ms Smyth revealed that she found the messages on pupil teacher portal Glow.

She was tearful as she recounted the moment she found out about the affair and discovered images of the schoolgirl that were sent to Mr Spittal.

Mr Spittal, brother of Ross County footballer Blair Spittal, admitted the relationship but said he believes he should still be allowed to teach.

Referring to the former schoolgirl, Ms Smyth said: "I saw that he was searching for Pupil A on Facebook.

"He said he was feeling low about teaching and he was looking for nice messages pupils wrote about him on Facebook.

"He was messaging the pupil using Glow at late times. The chat and banter you'd expect with a friend. We were friendly with a lot of Ross's colleagues.

"We would go on nights out and we went to some of their weddings. They would tell me he was well liked by pupils, especially Pupil A. He always brushed it off."

Ms Smyth added: "One Saturday night at about 2am, me and Ross were sitting in drinking and he kept looking at his phone.

"He was messaging Pupil A on Glow. I thought it was extremely odd behaviour.

"The day I came across the emails on our laptop, a message popped up at the bottom of the screen, she was emailing him.

"When I opened the conversation it was happening there and then, they were planning on meeting up."

On May 22 2019 she confronted her partner about the 800 emails she'd found between him and Pupil A, dating back to early 2019

"There were pictures of Pupil A. I was literally seeing photos of her as I was speaking to him on the phone. He asked me not to tell the police or the school."

Ms Smyth told the hearing one email read: "Kim is at work, you can come over."

On not phoning the police, she said: "It's something I regret now. I was in complete shock and I was heartbroken. It was in his hands to say what he had done."

Police Scotland found that no criminality had occurred after the relationship was later reported to them.

Mr Spittal's legal rep Claire Raftery said her client admits all allegations brought to him by the GTCS.

He admitted kissing the sixth year pupil after an Easter school session in April 2019. He also had sexual relations with the same girl at his home in April 2019.

In May 2019, Mr Spittal told the school's head teacher that there was "nothing going on at all" between himself and the pupil.

On Monday, he admitted to being dishonest about the relationship. It is believed that Mr Spittal is still in a relationship with the former pupil.

Susanne Young, 50, Head Teacher of Inveralmond was called as a witness and said in her statement: "In January, Pupil A submitted a yearbook entry about herself.

"It said: 'I can see myself teaching maths at Inveralmond next door to Mr Spittal so I can be next to him everyday."

Concerns were raised about Pupil A attending Mr Spittal's maths class, and although nothing was found to be untoward.

Ms Young said: "I felt it appropriate to speak to Mr Spittal about professional boundaries. Pupil A was no longer allowed to support his class."

She said a teacher saw Pupil A in Spittal's classroom alone which "made them feel uncomfortable".

"Pupil A or Mr Spittal were never told that she couldn't go in his classroom. He said it was nothing more than a pupil to teacher conversation. I suggested that he did not go to the prom and distanced himself."

Ms Young said Mr Spittal came clean to her about the nature of his relationship with Pupil A in May 2019.

She said: "Ross told me that he had let me down. He was shaking the whole way through the meeting.

"He said that nothing had happened whilst she was in school. He told me that he kissed her on 10th April 2019 after an Easter school session.

"He said he could not remember who initiated it. He said that they had had sex twice."

Describing a meeting with Pupil A's mother, she said: "Pupil A's mum thought that whilst he may have made a mistake, it shouldn't impact him getting a job."

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The head teacher also stated: "I was not aware of the standing joke (that pupil A 'fancied' Spittal) and if I was, it would have been thoroughly investigated."

She spoke about why she did not take anything further after looking into the relationship: "I had to take my teacher's word for it.

"There was no evidence of anything other than Pupil A liking him and/or admiring him."

She spoke about how she felt when Mr Spittal came clean: "A whole mixture of emotions; disappointed and complete shock. It was a surprising and difficult conversation."

Ms Young was then asked if she would ever employ him in the future: "I wouldn't offer him a job in my school again."

The GTCS investigation will determine whether he should remain on the teaching register and be allowed back in the classroom.

The tribunal will hear Mr Spittal's defence on February 7.

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