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Target failure not 'serious'

Ateacher's shortcomings in performancedid not amountto professional incompetence. Tara Fawcett reports

A teacher who failed to meet performance targets was not guilty of professional incompetence, England's General Teaching Council has ruled.

It said that although Anne Scott 's performance failed to meet the criteria needed for effective learning, she did not fall below the level required for a teacher.

David Dewhirst, who chaired the GTC hearing, said: "We are satisfied that the facts proven do not amount to serious professional incompetency."

Mrs Scott resigned from Weelsby primary in Grimsby before the school could complete capability proceedings which could have led to her dismissal.

Doubts about her performance were raised in March 2003 by Jo Johnston, head of the school, and confirmed during a visit by the Office for Standards in Education a month later.

Failings were found in Mrs Scott's lesson delivery, planning and attainment -she was monitored by the head and a mentor, and capability proceedings began in May 2003.

Mrs Scott joined Weelsby in January 2001 making a daily 90-mile round trip to the north-east Lancashire school. She resigned after a period of sick leave.

She attended the GTCE hearing in Birmingham last week.

Alison Beard, representing Mrs Scott, told the hearing that her client had received no written warnings about her performance and in a written statement, Mrs Scott said nobody had mentioned the idea of dismissal.

"If they had I would have requested a longer period of time so that I could prove my performance had improved and I would continue to improve," she said.

Mrs Beard said: "We have not at any point denied that Mrs Scott had problems.

"The headteacher and mentor teacher spent a lot of time watching her teaching and both considered that she was not an incapable teacher."

Initial observations of her work by Mrs Johnston in November 2002 did not raise any concerns, but later monitoring exposed problems in classroom management, planning and other areas.

Mrs Johnston told the GTC: "Development was needed in all areas and there was also a problem in her missing planning, which made it difficult to assess progress.

"I also felt that Mrs Scott's expectation of development was low."

But Mrs Johnston said Mrs Scott was making progress and that the extension period for improvement was going to be extended to allow her to attain her targets before she decided to resign.

"She was aware that she had achieved some of the targets, but in the end my final advice to Mrs Scott was that her health was more important," she said.

In her written statement Mrs Scott said: "When I started being observed I fell into a trap of trying to show people how much my pupils know.

"I was also very nervous and began to lose the focus because of the extremely long days and I was becoming fatigued.

"But before I resigned I was confident that I was going to move forward to make the targets.

"Yet after I was off sick for a length of time I thought I could not make that journey and do justice to teaching."

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