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Teacher who lost pupils' coursework is struck off

An "uncooperative and verbally abusive" teacher, who lost coursework and took time off without properly explaining the absence to his school, has been struck off the teaching register for two years.

Alan Croft, a design and technology teacher at Penketh High School in Warrington, Cheshire, was found guilty of seven allegations of unacceptable professional conduct by the General Teaching Council for England.

His former headteacher and head of department told the hearing in Birmingham that he had failed to keep them properly informed while he was off sick in February 2005.

Mr Croft, who started at the school in September 2004, also failed to set appropriate work for pupils when other teachers, including one whose wife had recently died, covered his Year 11 classes.

Pupils' access to their coursework folders was also restricted because they were at Mr Croft's home. And the panel was told that he did not inform his head of department that his pupils were not on target to complete their GCSE projects.

Mr Croft had taken 49 days off work due to a back problem. When his sick note ran out, he was suspended and, after an investigation, he was found to have been in breach of contract and forced to resign in April 2005.

Clifford Seggie, his head of department, said that there had been a complete breakdown in communication with Mr Croft.

"His class was substantially behind, seven of the pupils' work folders were missing and their coursework deadline was three weeks away. And in the four folders we did find, at the back of a cupboard, there were no coursework assessment sheets," he said.

Peter Butler, GTC committee chairman, said: "When the school tried to clarify a return date for Mr Croft, he was not co-operative and verbally abusive.

"He demonstrated a persistent lack of insight into the seriousness of his actions or their consequences for pupils and colleagues."

Mr Croft, who was not represented at the hearing, said in his defence: "Under no circumstances was any of the class practical work kept from the students or locked away. During most of my time working at the school I did achieve some good results with the students I taught. All the students I taught went away from the school with some kind of result."

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