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Teacher was not seriously incompetent, says council

A key stage 2 teacher who failed to ensure children were paying attention during lessons has been cleared of serious professional incompetence by England's General Teaching Council.

Carol Broomfield, who taught at Sankey Valley St James' Church of England primary in Great Sankey, Warrington, said a difficult relationship with the school's head had made her life stressful.

She was given a class of more than 30 children to teach after being off ill for six months with depression and subjected to an Ofsted inspection three weeks into the term.

Five out of eight lesson observations were deemed unsatisfactory and Mrs Broomfield, who had taught at the school since 1978, resigned in December 2004 after reaching a compromise agreement.

Formal capability proceedings had begun against Mrs Broomfield in December 2003 after an Ofsted report highlighted weaknesses in the quality of her teaching.

Since leaving Sankey Valley, she has worked as a supply teacher at 23 schools and is now teaching Year 1 autistic children at a special needs school.

Mrs Broomfield told the disciplinary hearing in Birmingham this week: "I am very happy with my current teaching and hope it will be possible for me to continue in this environment.

"I found being formally observed highly stressful but dispute the assertion that my teaching was having a detrimental effect on pupils.

"Problems arose when I was effectively asked to teach two science lessons within one class but I do not believe my classroom management was inadequate."

Mrs Broomfield faced seven charges of serious professional incompetence, including failing to give clear instructions to the class and differentiate between children of different abilities. She denied she had been guilty of professional incompetence and said that her difficult relationship with Viv Formby, the headteacher, made her working life stressful.

The class of 30 children was also larger that she had been used to.

Mrs Formby said she had provided additional support, including sending some Year 5 pupils to another class for their numeracy lessons and that the class size met government guidelines.

Concerns about Mrs Broomfield's classroom management and organisation and her teaching of science and numeracy were raised in the school's Ofsted report.

As a result, Mrs Formby and two advisers from Warrington council carried out the classroom observations.

The disciplinary hearing said that it was satisfied the facts had been proven, it was not satisfied that they amounted to serious professional incompetence.

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