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Teacher who slept with pupil is defended by new employer

The head of a Scottish organisation that works with charities and voluntary bodies has defended its hiring of a former teacher struck off for having sex with one of her pupils.

Eppie Sprung Dawson, 27, was last week banned from teaching by the General Teaching Council For Scotland (GTCS) in Edinburgh after being sacked from her job at a school in Dumfries.

She is now working for Third Sector First, a body based in Dumfries, as an adminstration assistant.

The organisation, funded by the Scottish Government and Dumfries and Galloway Council, runs training for people interested in volunteering, creating networks for charities and voluntary bodies, and has five offices in the area.

Third Sector First also works with the Saltire Awards, which "formally recognise the commitment and contribution of youth volunteering to voluntary organisations".

However, David Coulter, its chief executive, said: "She is employed temporarily as an admin assistant to put data into a database. She is sitting putting data into a database. She is in the back office.

"If people think that putting data into a database is in anyway reflecting on the conviction then that is for their consciences."

Mr Coulter added Sprung Dawson does not work with ­children as part of her job.

Mr Coulter added: "If people think it is inappropriate then they don't know what she is doing.

"I cannot think of anything immoral or ethically incorrect that we have done."

Sprung Dawson, 27, admitted engaging in a sexual activity with one of her teenage students, Matthew Robinson, who was under 18 at the time, and has been removed from the teaching profession's register.

She was found "unfit to teach" during a hearing by the GTCS.

In a statement read out to the panel, she consented to being taken off the register and admitted having sex with Mr Robinson, who was then aged 17.

She will not be allowed to apply to join the register again for two years.

Sprung Dawson, who taught English at St Joseph's College in Dumfries, was not present or represented at the hearing.

She admitted the charge of sexual intercourse contrary to Section 42 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 against her.

She appeared at Dumfries ­Sheriff Court in July and admitted having sex with someone under 18 while in a position of trust. The pair had been at a school dance before driving to an isolated spot on the Cummertreese to Hoddam Road, near Dumfries, where they had sex.

They were interviewed by officers patrolling the area, four days before Christmas last year.

As well as being struck from the teaching register, Sprung Dawson was placed on the sex offenders register and ordered to receive counselling as part of a community payback order.

She now reportedly lives with her former pupil.

Dumfries Sheriff Court heard in June Sprung Dawson had been the victim of sexual abuse in her past.

At the GTCS hearing Sprung Dawson said in her statement:"On February 9 I was convicted at Dumfries Sheriff Court. I engaged in sexual intercourse with him; Contrary to Section 42 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009.

"I was sentenced on 18 September 2013 and sentenced to a Community Payback Order and made subject to the Sex Offenders Register.

"I readily and willingly consent to being removed and understand that I will be prohibited from teaching for a period of two years."

In September, a sheriff caused controversy when he praised Sprung Dawson's "exemplary" behaviour during her community service at a review in court.

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