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Failed trainee gains more time

A newly-qualified science teacher who failed his induction, even after being awarded additional time to complete it, has been granted another extension.

Shem Obuya, a trainee at George Green's school, Tower Hamlets, east London, was given more time because the initial extension had not made up the time he had taken off work.

England's General Teaching Council heard that he joined the comprehensive in July 2004 but was forced to take time off shortly afterwards due to stress.

Ann Short, school development adviser, said his health problems were brought on by concerns about his teaching.

She said: "By September 2004, Mr Obuya's planning and behaviour were causing problems. There was no real progress in the children."

The school arranged support for Mr Obuya, who was originally from Kenya.

However, he became depressed and was given a month's leave in November.

In March, an independent observation raised concerns about Mr Obuya's ability to motivate pupils. Some were moved from his class to ensure their progress towards exams was satisfactory.

However, on July 14, Mr Obuya was told his induction period was to be extended until October 28. But in early October he was told he had failed.

Gaelle Graham, his National Union of Teachers representative, said Mr Obuya's last observation on October 4 was not taken into account. Ms Graham said: "He was deprived of the benefit of the positive points made during this period."

She said the school proved more challenging than Mr Obuya had expected and there were problems with his family arriving in the UK.

Mr Obuya said: "I did take a little longer than expected to settle down. I lost a lot of the confidence I had built over the years and felt very inadequate."

The committee found Mr Obuya had failed to meet the standards required of a new teacher. While the school had given support it had failed to extend the induction period sufficiently.

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