A FORMER head teacher at an East Ayrshire primary school has been cleared of allegations that she injured a five-year-old child by dragging him across a village hall.

Carol McCulloch faced three allegations relating to an incident which was claimed to have happened while pupils were rehearsing for a Nativity play.

Ms McCulloch was working as a teacher at Sorn Primary School during the alleged incident at Sorn Village Hall in December 2019.

But a ‘fitness to teach’ panel from the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) found all three allegations unproved.

Ms McCulloch - who is no longer head teacher at the school - was alleged to have seized a five-year-old pupil by the body and dragged him across the hall, to have shouted at the same pupil, and to have caused an injury to the pupil’s leg while dragging him across the hall.

But after hearing from three witnesses, including two teachers who were in the hall at the time, as well as a written statement from a third teacher, the three-strong GTCS panel found that the allegations could not be proved.

According to a report of the panel’s hearing, two witnesses claimed that Ms McCulloch abrubtly took the pupil out of the hall and shouted at him in the nearby corridor after he started misbehaving.

Both witnesses said that once the pupil and Ms McCulloch re-entered the hall, Ms McCulloch left the hall for a second time.

The hearing was told that the two witnesses then spoke with another teacher – referred to in the panel’s report as Teacher 1 – about what they had seen, and that this teacher was advised to use the ‘whistleblowing policy’ to report the matter.

The two witnesses and the teacher compiled a document recording the incident and reported the matter to HR.

The panel’s report said that Teacher 1 had been due to attend the hearing, but could not do so because of health issues.

The report also said the pupil’s grandfather had been asked to appear, but that he had not responded to repeated attempts to contact him.

According to the panel’s report, Ms McCulloch refuted the claims that she had either dragged the pupil or shouting at him.

She told the panel that she raised her voice at the pupil to get his attention.

Ms McCulloch also said that “her professional relationship with Teacher 1 was very strained”.

She said Teacher 1 had complained about health issues, resulting in a health and safety assessment being carried out.

Ms McCulloch also told the panel that the allegations had been made exactly a week after she had held a meeting with Teacher 1 regarding aspects of her practice.

She also said there had been “historic issues in 2018” regarding Teacher 1’s care for a child who had fallen and was later found to have a broken arm.

Ms McCulloch told the panel that she believed Teacher 1 had made the allegations because she was angry at what had happened the week before – and said she believed Teacher 1 “had influence” over the other two witnesses.

The panel said that there were “inconsistencies with witness statements” regarding the allegations that Ms McCulloch had dragged the pupil across the hall and shouted at him, and found there was no evidence to suggest Ms McCulloch had caused the injury to the pupil’s leg.

Ms McCulloch said she “had been heartbroken to leave the school and wanted to be able to move forward as a head teacher".