Teacher admits ‘sexual activity’ with schoolboy

Mother-of-three Bernadette Smith pleaded guilty to charges. Picture: Contributed
Mother-of-three Bernadette Smith pleaded guilty to charges. Picture: Contributed
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A teacher has admitted that she had kissed a schoolboy and lay beside him on a bed while she was partly naked.

Married teacher Bernadette Smith engaged in “sexual activity” with the 17-year-old, who was one of her pupils, in a house and in a public park.

Mother-of-three Smith was sacked from her post as a teacher of history and English at Bannockburn High School, Stirlingshire, after it emerged that she had an affair with the teenager.

At Stirling Sheriff Court yesterday Smith, 35, of Denny, Stirlingshire, who initially resigned from her post after she was exposed, pleaded guilty to the offence.

Smith had been due to appear in court next week – on 6 December – but the case was “accelerated” at the request of her defence team, a manoeuvre sometimes used by solicitors to enable their clients to avoid publicity.

The swiftness of the move appeared even to catch the prosecution unawares – the depute fiscal, Laura Wilcox, asked for time to speak to more senior prosecutors in the Crown Office/Procurator Fiscal Service to prepare a full narration of the facts.

Defence agent Andrew Gibb, solicitor for the teachers’ union the Educational Institute of Scotland, did not oppose the deferral.

Sheriff Wyllie Robertson said that the request to continue such a case without hearing a narration was “very unusual”, but agreed to the Crown motion.

Normally, the facts in a sexual offences case are narrated at the time an accused pleads guilty, in order that social workers can begin preparing background
reports and an assessment of the risk the accused poses to other potential victims.

Sheriff Robertson continued the case until 13 December for a detailed Crown narration of Smith’s actions, and placed her on the Sex Offenders Register.

Dressed in black, Smith, whose bail was continued, smiled and looked confused as she was told by the sheriff clerk she could leave the dock.

Bannockburn High School was made aware of the fling on 19 September, 2013, after the school authorities were contacted by the teenager’s parents.

Smith was asked to attend a meeting at the school next day, where she was informed of her immediate suspension pending an inquiry.

She verbally resigned, but later refused to confirm her resignation in writing, before being sacked.

Headmaster Tom Black sent text messages and letters to parents after newspaper coverage and Smith’s appearance in court.

Callander Park, where part of the illicit activity is said to have happened, is a 170-acre park in Falkirk centred round historic Callendar House.