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NQT's reference 'was forged'

New teacher failed to tell employers he was graded unsatisfactory in first term assessment. Tamsin Snow reports

An "unsatisfactory" newly-qualified teacher who failed six out of seven classroom observations got a job with a forged reference, the General Teaching Council for England heard.

The induction appeal panel, sitting in central London, also heard that Sylvanus Chiata, who taught information and communication technology at Ashburton community school in Croydon, Surrey, omitted to tell his employers that he was an NQT who had already been graded as unsatisfactory in his first term's assessment.

Richard Warne, head of Ashburton, said that only two of 27 new teachers at his school had failed their induction year.

Mr Chiata, who started working at the school in September 2002, was placed back on the induction scheme as soon as it became evident that he had not been successful.

John Chambers, senior education inspector at Croydon education authority, told the hearing that a pupil had sent a written complaint about Mr Chiata within a week of his arrival.

Inspectors later observed seven of Mr Chiata's lessons, but only one of them was regarded as satisfactory.

Mr Chambers said: "Mr Chiata rarely challenged pupils, behaviour was poor, teaching procedures were poor, record-keeping was poor and he was also unable to implement school discipline policies."

Mr Chambers said he had become suspicious about Mr Chiata's employment reference "because it was not on letter heading I recognised".

He added: "The information contained in the reference was untrue and it was not written by the person whose name was on the bottom of it."

The induction panel heard how, before joining Ashburton, Mr Chiata had already spent the autumn term in 2000 as an NQT at Darrick Wood school in Orpington, Kent.

Mr Chiata told the hearing that while at Darrick Wood he had "no formal assessment meeting" and and that no member of staff had "raised concerns" about his teaching. He said he had worked "harder than at any point" in his life as the school was at that time preparing for an inspection by the Office for Standards in Education.

Mr Chiata claimed that Charles Robert, the school's induction tutor, did not allow him to go on an induction session organised by Bromley council because he was "busy in school".

Mr Robert told the hearing: "The bottom line is that I didn't think you (Mr Chiata) were capable of controlling a classroom.

"It was a clear-cut decision to say he was unsatisfactory."

The hearing continues next month.

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