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Scandal of our rogue teachers; 'Carry on teaching' orders in spite of disciplinary action.

Byline: Steffan Rhys

TEACHERS in Wales have been allowed to continue teaching despite bullying pupils, using school computers to access pornography and, in one case, slapping a 15-year-old girl's bottom, we can reveal today.

Others remain able to teach despite convictions for racial abuse, battery, heroin possession and drink-driving.

Figures obtained by the Western Mail show that 21 of 41 teachers who have faced disciplinary hearings before the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) since December 2006 have been allowed to continue teaching. Others have either been suspended or prohibited from doing so.

However, even the 11 teachers given a prohibition order - the most severe sanction available to the GTCW - are allowed to reapply for registration as teachers after a set period, normally between two and five years.

Twenty of the 41 hearings followed criminal convictions. However, the GTCW said it was unable to put a total figure on how many teachers currently working in Wales have criminal convictions. Cases heard by the GTCW in the past three years also include a teacher who failed to report the possible physical abuse of a child to the school's headteacher, and another who corrected and added to Year 11 GCSE mathematics coursework in order to raise pupils' marks. Both were prohibited from teaching, the former for a minimum of two years and the latter for a minimum of four. The GTCW said it decided on one of four sanctions based on the facts of each individual case. The council may either issue a reprimand; impose a conditional registration order specifying all the conditions with which a teacher must comply; suspend the teacher for a maximum period of two years, at the end of which the teacher again becomes eligible for registration; or impose a prohibition order of no less than two years, before the end of which the teacher cannot apply for a determination that he or she is again eligible for registration .

David Davies, Tory MP for Monmouth, said teachers guilty of offences such as failing to report suspected physical abuse and altering coursework should be banned from the profession. "My inclination, without knowing the full details, would be to say that those people shouldn't be teaching," he said. "But I thinkwealso have to look at each case on its merits rather than having a blanket rule that anyone who has broken the law in any way at all can't teach. You could take it to extremes and what would happen if someone got two points on their licence and they couldn't teach?" The NASUWT, the largest teaching union in the UK, called for a reassessment of the way hearings are held in public. Wales organiser Rex Phillips said:"We have had a long-running argument with the GTCW about the way in which it conducts its hearing. "We take issue with them placing in the public arena issues of teachers' private lives.

"They very rarely accept these arguments. They argue they do not act in the interest of the individual but in the interest of the public. "We say they are acting in the interest of the press. "We have no issue with the cases going to the council or with the decisions being made public. Butwedo not seewhythey have to rehearse the arguments in public. "We can't argue that they can't publish on their website that Teacher X did so and so.We don't have a problem with that. "And the justice in theGTCWis relatively secure. I don't believe I've seen a case where they've reached the wrong decision. Butthey don't seem to consider the effect these hearings have on the teacher. It's far more difficult for the teacher to go back and get on with the job at school. TheGTCW put their quest for publicity ahead of the rights and interests of teachers. They seem to place more stock in taking them to the press to justify their existence." Mr Phillips added: "Teachers are human beings. There has to be a distinction between their private and professional lives. "If something happens in their professional life, people need to know. If it happens in their private life and has no bearing on how they do their job [they don't]. "The expectation on teachers, in terms of expecting them to be squeaky clean, is too great. There will be times when they transgress. Nobody is saying they shouldn't be held to account, but quite often by the time it's got to the GTCW, they've already been held to account. "How many times do you want to make a judgement on a teacher? And why do you want to rehearse the full details of the case in the public arena? "Teachers should be entitled to a private life. The GTCW has no respect for that." The GTCW only investigates cases that are referred to it, normally by schools, LEAs or the police. The number of cases referred is around 20 per year - 0.05% of all registered teachers. Sanctions imposed, if any, depend on the nature of the offence and whether it is considered to have any professional relevance.

Hayden Llewellyn, deputy chief executive of the GTCW, said: "Each hearing is determined by a professional conduct committee, comprising a mixture of practising registered teachers and lay persons. "The committee's decision is based on the evidence presented at the hearing and is made in accordance with GTCW procedures and guidance, which are underpinned by legislation. "If the facts are proven and the committee finds the teacher to be guilty of professional misconduct, the committee will decide what sanction to impose, if any, based on the individual circumstances of each case. "Just as in a court of law, no two cases are ever the same and, therefore, it is inappropriate to compare sanctions on differing cases without fully understanding the background on each." One way in which the system in Wales differs from that of England is that all new teachers wanting to register with the GTCW are required to undertake a criminal records bureau (CRB) check. This is not a condition of registration with the General Teaching Council for England. Comment: page 18 more January 16, 2007 Reason for hearing Criminal caution for racially threatening abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause fear or provocation of violence, and a caution for damage to property Outcome Reprimand February 2, 2007 Reason for hearing Conviction for driving. a motor vehicle with excess alcohol, and a fixed penalty notice for being drunk and disorderly Outcome Reprimand March 6, 2007 Reason for hearing Failure to report the possible physical abuse of a child to the headteacher Outcome Prohibition order (two years before an application may be made for restoration to the register of teachers) May 21-22, 2007 Reason for hearing Failed to comply with health and safety procedures in relation to school trips Outcome Reprimand July 12, 2007 Reason for hearing Inappropriate contact with pupils and poor classroom management Outcome Prohibition order (minimum five years) July 17, 2007 Reason for hearing Corrected and added to Year 11 GCSE mathematics coursework in order to raise pupils' marks Outcome Prohibition order (minimum four years) January 11, 2008 Reason for hearing Provided copy of an enhanced criminal record certificate which did not detail convictions including obtaining property by deception and theft Outcome Prohibition order (minimum two years) March 5, 2008 Reason for hearing Conviction for possessing a handgun, possessing a firearm without a certificate and possessing prohibited ammunition Outcome Prohibition order (minimum three years) July 10, 2008 Reason for hearing Conviction for resisting a constable and violent behaviour in a police station Outcome Reprimand September 23-24, 2008 Reason for hearing Inappropriate conversations with pupils and texting a female pupil Outcome Conditional registration order September 26, 2008 Reason for hearing Caution for possession of cocaine Outcome Reprimand Some of the cases heard by the GTCW since December 2006 October 2, 2008 Reason for hearing Caution for possessing heroin and methadone Outcome Conditional registration order .

November 11, 2008 Reason for hearing Convictions for common assault, damage to property, aggravated vehicle taking, driving. with no insurance and otherwise than in accordance with a licence. Outcome Conditional registration order. February 26-27, 2009 Reason for hearing Inappropriate relationship with a male pupil. Outcome Conditional registration order. April 3, 2009 Reason for hearing Failed to monitor the written work of GCSE students and failed to mark theory work. Outcome Prohibition order (minimum two years) November 23, 2009 Reason for hearing Used unnecessary force to remove a child from the classroom, and in doing so caused him to sustain an injury to his shoulder, used a school laptop to access explicit pornography which could have been accessed by staff and pupils, and used a pupil's name and identity to access inappropriate images. Outcome Suspension Outcome Suspension order (12 months)
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Title Annotation:News; Front Page
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 28, 2009
Words:1463
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