Pupils 'fighting in PE lesson'

Oliver Luft

A teacher whose class was said to be approaching breakdown has been banned from teaching unless she requalifies.

Glenda Henderson, formerly employed at Abbots Farm infant school, Rugby, was found guilty of serious professional incompetence by England's General Teaching Council.

It heard that during her lessons, children were observed fighting over coins, leaping from high stools, and behaving in an unsafe manner during PE at the Warwickshire school.

Helen Tressler, headteacher, said Mrs Henderson's failure to communicate what she wanted from her class was so acute that on one occasion pupils made up their own activities so as not to disappoint her.

Christa Tennant, the school's previous head, said that on another occasion, pupils and support staff were reduced to tears of frustration over her poor methods. Parents also complained to the school, the county council and governors about her teaching.

Mrs Henderson, who has been a teacher since 1976, had taught at the 180-pupil school since 1988.

She attended last week's hearing in Birmingham and admitted that her teaching had been poor since 1997, but said that Mrs Tennant had undermined her confidence.

Mrs Henderson resigned in November 2002 and has since been working for her husband's company. She told the disciplinary hearing she wished to return to teaching eventually.

The hearing found she failed to reach an acceptable standard of competence while on a local authority teaching support programme.

She was placed on Warwickshire county council's structured assistance programme in January 1999, after Mrs Tennant became concerned about her teaching.

The committee was told that despite being offered extensive support, both inside and outside of the school, Mrs Henderson failed to meet any of the targets she had been set.

Chris Rhodes, a council inspector, said he observed poor and unsatisfactory lessons and that on one occasion her class was approaching breakdown because of the unacceptable noise level.

Margaret Buck, another council inspector who observed Mrs Henderson at work, said: "My overall judgement about the quality of her teaching was that it was unsatisfactory.

"She did not have the knowledge, skills, or the ability to sustain satisfactory teaching over a period of time."

During the council's support programme, which usually operates over four or five terms, lengthy spells of sickness kept Mrs Henderson away from school.

She spent more than two years absent with stress-induced sickness from January 1999 until November 2002.

The hearing placed her under a conditional registration order.

Mrs Henderson can return to teaching only when she completes a re-entry training course to qualified teacher status and has prior approval from the teaching council.

* newsdesk@tes.co.uk

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