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Teacher struck off for incompetence wins appeal against GTCS

Janet Garner, one of the first teachers to be struck off the register under professional incompetence proceedings, has won an appeal in the Court of Session against the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

Three appeal judges last week returned the case to the GTCS for it to determine whether proceedings against her should be renewed.

A GTCS spokesman said it was reviewing the court's findings before deciding how to proceed.

"We are confident that Mrs Garner received a fair hearing. Nonetheless, we accept and respect the view of the court that the reasons for the decision were not sufficiently detailed in some areas. This is something we will address for future cases," he added.

Mrs Garner began working for Clackmannanshire Council as a maths teacher in 2003, first at Alva Academy and later at Alloa Academy.

The council dismissed her in 2007 over concerns about her competency. The case was referred to the GTCS in 2010 and concluded in 2011, making it one of the longest-running tribunals in Scottish education history. The GTCS heard evidence of numerous complaints by pupils and parents about her teaching, discipline problems and failure to hand out homework.

Mrs Garner's appeal cited 113 examples of what she claimed had been errors of law by the disciplinary sub-committee.

Lord Osborne, sitting with Lords Eassie and Emslie, said one of her main complaints was a failure to take into account substantial evidence about the attainment of pupils taught by her.

The committee referred to "poor attainment in her classes", but Lord Osborne said: "Mrs Garner presented a large amount of statistical evidence related to class and individual results. There is no indication the committee gave any consideration to that material beyond reference to its existence. The decision appears to us to lack the reasoning which would be essential to a fair and rational decision."

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