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Deputy involved pupils in 'war' with headteacher

A deputy head caught up in a "war" with his head has been found guilty of unprofessional conduct by England's General Teaching Council after forcing Year 4 pupils to divulge conversations they had about him.

But Andrew Queen, formerly of St Martin's primary in Liskeard, Cornwall, was not disciplined and can carry on teaching.

He has not worked as a teacher since being dismissed in September 2003. A previous hearing heard that pupils knew there was a war between Mr Queen, the head and some parents.

Mr Queen admitted to the committee, sitting in Birmingham, that in June 2003 he instructed pupils from his class to write what they had told Susan Green, the head, about his behaviour.

Mr Queen said that this was so that he could prove she had been lying to him. Mrs Green had spoken to the pupils to find out whether Mr Queen's conduct in previous lessons had been appropriate.

In a statement, one pupil, referred to as pupil B, called the day in question "the worst day of my life". Pupil A said she felt she had to lie to Mr Queen because if she told him what she had said to Mrs Green, "he would go mad".

In June 2003, the school received six complaints about him in eight days from parents. He was suspended while an investigation took place, then dismissed in September 2003. His appeal was rejected.

Mr Queen claimed that Mrs Green had been campaigning to undermine him since her appointment in 1999.

After taking unpaid leave for professional development in 2000 and 2001, Mr Queen returned to find someone had been appointed as assistant head. He had also been relieved of his teaching duties in maths and PE.

Mr Queen told the committee that he found the situation "soul- destroying" and he felt he was no longer welcome at the school.

In September 2002, he received a final warning for giving children inappropriate information during a sex education lesson. Prior to that, he had received no formal complaints during more than 26 years of teaching.

The committee said Mr Queen had acted in a "wholly inappropriate way" by involving pupils in his dispute with Mrs Green, and that his behaviour fell below the standard expected of a teacher.

It conceded that disciplinary matters had not been handled in the best way and noted that Mr Queen had been supported by other parents who said bullying tactics were being used to force him from his job.

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