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Double trouble for unfortunate head

This is the second time that staff from Alcester high technology college have ended up before the General Teaching Council.

The other teacher was in fact a colleague of Martyn Glenville in the modern languages department at the Warwickshire comprehensive. At a hearing in October, Robert Smith, a languages teacher with 25 years' experience, was found guilty by the council of failing to keep up with changes in teaching methods.

He had also allowed pupils to use reference books during a GCSE exam, and had left an answer-book open on his desk.

There have been 10 GTC conduct and competence hearings since the procedure was introduced in January this year. But Annabelle Guyver, head of Alcester, denies that her staff's contribution to these numbers reflects badly on the school. "It's pure bad luck," she said. "It doesn't happen very often, but it happened to us. Either it's unfortunate for our school, or we're very rigorous. I like to think we face our problems and deal with them. It shows this school is prepared to deal with people not working at the level we want."

Mrs Guyver joined the school in 1996. Mr Glenville was already a member of staff when she arrived, but she was responsible for recruiting Mr Smith in 1999.

"Recruitment is not an exact science, and we constantly review our procedures," she said. "Mr Smith has been my only disappointment. Statistically, it's a very small percentage."

In a 2000 inspection report, the Office for Standards in Education rated modern language teaching at Alcester as satisfactory, with one-third good or very good. The overall quality of teaching at the school was found to be good.

Warwickshire County Council also insists that the two incidents do not reflect on the quality of the school. "The two allegations are wholly unconnected. The school has rigorous procedures which brought these cases to light," a spokesperson said.

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