ion into the circumstances of the "close emotional
relationship" between John Forrester, who was Kincorth's head of music, and
Claire Bennett, who is aged 16 and is now pregnant with their child. Mr
Forrester denied there was a sexual relationship between them while they were
at the school.
The investigation carried out by Anne Black, a social work consultant, found
that from late last year until his resignation in February, "there was a series
of events in school involving Mr F and CB which, taken singly, do not raise
major concerns but, when viewed together, show a pattern of involvement with
one pupil which was unusual for a principal teacher".
Ms Black made a number of wide-ranging recommendations, including the need for
officials to spend more time in direct contact with staff and pupils.
Aberdeen says it has reviewed the job of education officer and is confident
this will be more possible in future.
But the report exonerated the council in its handling of the situation.
"Given the determination of two people to conceal a relationship which they
know will have serious consequences, it is hard to see how management in the
school could have predicted the nature of that relationship," it stated.
Mr Forrester was able "skilfully to withhold significant information about his
life and relationships even from his closest colleagues".
Ann Landels, neighbourhood officer for the south area of Aberdeen responsible
for Kincorth, said: "There are wider implications for education authorities,
especially in respect of new legislation such as that on breach of trust."
The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 makes it a criminal offence for anyone
over the age of 18 to engage in a sexual relationship with someone under the
age of 18 where they are "in a position of trust". The difficulty of
establishing whether there had been a sexual relationship is believed to have
been behind the decision by the Crown Office not to prosecute.
The Scottish Executive promised guidance on the Act in 2001 but none has yet
been issued. This failure, Ms Black noted, "meant that knowledge and
understanding of the importance of this offence across the council remained
There was even a lack of clarity about whether the Act was in force.