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Cancer victim appeals for extra induction time

A newly qualified teacher who had problems controlling the behaviour of his classes has appealed to England's General Teaching Council for his induction year to be extended.

Warwickshire county council has already turned down Andrew Cooper's application and he was failed in April.

Mr Cooper, who taught history at Lawrence Sheriff school, Rugby, appealed on the grounds that exceptional circumstances prevented him from reaching the necessary standard. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in November 2003 and moved to Lawrence Sheriff after extensive treatment involving chemotherapy and surgery.

Mr Cooper moved to Rugby for his second term of induction in September 2004 as the school was near his family home and where he was having treatment.

He had already passed the first term of his induction at Oaklands Catholic school in Waterlooville, Hampshire, although Mr Cooper admitted some shortcomings in behaviour management.

Senior management at Lawrence Sheriff, a 780-pupil boys' school, recognised weaknesses with his behaviour management. Elizabeth Furness, county induction co-ordinator, told the GTC that despite Mr Cooper's good knowledge and planning, poor behaviour was getting in the way of learning in his lessons.

One parent wrote to the school alleging that his son had been assaulted during one of Mr Cooper's classes. Senior staff had also had to intervene in his classes as they became disruptively noisy.

Mr Cooper told the GTC that in addition to his other treatment he had undergone major surgery in July 2004, prior to starting at the school.

Despite medical advice for a phased introduction to his new role he started full time in September - without informing the school about the severity of his operation.

He admitted that during the early part of the term he had difficulty standing and could not hand out text books.

"Looking back I was not 100 per cent. I found it difficult to impose myself and set standards with the classes. At Oaklands I did not have difficulty getting my expectations across because I was fitter."

Mr Cooper said he covered up the extent of his medical treatment because he was anxious to make a good impression.

His employment with the school was terminated in August this year, although the school had not required him to return to work after the Easter break.

The GTC will announce whether it will award him an additional term for induction at a later date.

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