Glasgow & West Scotland

Teacher banned for viewing pornography in class

Greenfaulds High School Image copyright Google
Image caption MacFarlane was caught in a classroom at the old Greenfaulds High School building

A teacher who was caught by a colleague viewing pornography in class has been banned from teaching.

Neil MacFarlane, who taught computing, science and chemistry at Greenfaulds High School in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire, was deemed unfit to teach.

The ruling was delivered by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

They also found that MacFarlane should be unable to reapply to join the teaching register for at least two years.


He was caught by deputy head teacher Suzanne Beattie viewing an image of a naked woman on his computer screen on 24 October 2014.

Mrs Beattie told a GTCS hearing, held at the end of last month, that she had gone to MacFarlane's class in the former Greenfaulds High building, which has since been demolished and rebuilt, to speak to a pupil.

However, as she entered the room she said the teacher was sitting at his PC with a full-sized nude picture of a woman on the screen.

She described how the screen was facing MacFarlane as pupils sat around the three walls opposite.

Mrs Beattie told the hearing that anyone walking into the room would have seen the explicitly nude picture.

She added that when he saw her enter the room, he quickly minimised the screen or closed it down.

The hearing was told that MacFarlane was flustered but did not say anything.

The deputy head spoke to the pupil and left before reporting the matter to the head teacher.

'Inadvertently downloaded'

When MacFarlane's computer was later checked by IT specialists, they found pornographic images downloaded onto the school computer.

However, he had claimed that the material had been inadvertently transferred to the PC by automatic synchronisation from his own personal Dropbox file sharing account.

This was discounted by IT witnesses who stated that the material that had been downloaded required "human intervention".

They also found that MacFarlane had accessed other inappropriate sites to view horror films, celebrity stories and sport.

The ruling panel heard that MacFarlane had not attended the hearing after claiming he had been unable to afford representation and had also been unable to get annual leave from his current employer.

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