THE hearing into the conduct of a Dumbarton teacher accused of having a Bobby Sands mug and “Free Derry” Christmas card in his classroom has concluded – almost one year after the case began.

Jim Beattie appeared before the General Teaching Council for Scotland in December last year before the case was postponed until January. However, it never resumed.

Almost 22,000 people signed a petition calling for the teacher – described as a “legend” by pupils at Our Lady and St Patrick’s – to be allowed to keep his job.

The Reporter can reveal the case began again on Tuesday, September 4 and concluded on Friday. A full report on the findings of the panel will be made public within 30 days.

Mr Beattie had asked for the case to be heard in private, which was denied by the GTCS.

A GTCS spokesman explained the delay was “unfortunate” but “unavoidable” so the full facts of the case could be established.

He added: “There was an application made for this hearing to be heard in private. This was rejected by a panel. Notice of public hearings is posted on our website.

“This is because of a range of factors including the application for a hearing in private; the deliberations of the panel; the legal arguments made on either side; and then the arrangements requiring to be made to find a hearing date that suited all of those involved, particularly taking into account the summer holidays. We appreciate any delay is unfortunate but it is unavoidable.”

Amongst a string of charges, Mr Beattie is alleged to have written the term “hun town” in his notes while working as a modern studies teacher at Our Lady and St Patrick’s High School in August 2014.

He is also accused of having a “Free Derry” Christmas card and postcard, and a mug bearing an image of Sands – an Irish Republican Army member who died at the notorious Maze Prison in Northern Ireland after going on hunger strike.

Another charge alleges the teacher used “prior knowledge” of a Modern Studies exam to “advise pupils on the areas to study in advance” of the exam.

He is accused of having “inappropriate contact with pupils personally by email”.

Mr Beattie denied his ability to teach was impaired.

Mr Beattie was moved by West Dunbartonshire Council to the nearby Vale of Leven Academy after the concerns were first brought to light.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “West Dunbartonshire Council expects the highest standards from all of its teachers and stipulates that staff must meet the requirements of the General Teaching Council for Scotland.”

A temporary restriction has been placed on the teacher’s licence until the case has concluded. While a teacher’s registration is marked as restricted, they may only be employed by their existing employer and in their existing teaching post.