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Teachers in the news

CLEARED HEAD TO FACE GOVERNORS

WELSH headteacher Marjorie Evans ended a rollercoaster year with a letter of support from the Prince of Wales and news that she will face a disciplinary hearing. Mrs Evans is expected to defend herself against allegations of pupil mistreatment. She could face dismissal from St Mary's junior school, in Caldicot, near Newport. If so, she is likely to write a book about the 15-month saga.

Since her suspension from the school in September 1999, Mrs Evans has been convicted of assault and cleared on appeal.

The National Union of Teachers believes the 56-year-old is the victim of a vendetta.

OFSTED BLAMED OVER SUICIDE

THE Office for Standards in Education partially upheld a complaint into the inspection which was linked to the suicide of teacher Pamela Relf.

Miss Relf, 57, drowned herself in January, leaving a note complaining of stress and long hours at work, two months after inspectors told her that her lessons "lacked pace".

Governors at Middlefield primary school, Cambridgeshire, complained to OFSTED about the conduct of the inspection team. Three of their five complaints were upheld although OFSTED stands by the verdict that the school had serious weaknesses.

NAKED TEACHER IN DEEP WATER

DAVID Blunkett ordered the publication of a damning social services report on a school at the centre of a court case.

Renate Williams admitted being drunk in charge of teenage pupils and swimming naked in front of them but was cleared in November 1999 of indecently assaulting a 15-year-old.

She told The TES of fights, boys asking about her sexuality and bullying. The report vindicated her claims, describing "sexualised images of women" on bedroom walls, ineffective child protection, and por vetting of staff. The school closed in the summer.

GOVERNORS LOSE JOB-SHARE CASE

REBEKAHMarshall, the headteacher whose request for a job-share was turned down, had her case upheld by an employment tribunal.

The tribunal found that Devon education authority and governors of Langtree community school, Exeter, had sexually discriminated against Mrs Marshall, 44, by refusing to allow her to return part-time after the birth of her fourth child.

She was hoping to return to work, but is now seeking compensation at another tribunal hearing after failing to agree terms with the school and the council.

STRESSED JANICE GETS pound;250,000

South Wales teacher Janice Howell won pound;250,000 compensation after claiming the stress of having too many special needs children in her classroom led to two nervous breakdowns.

She said 11 of her 28 pupils, at Maindee junior school, Newport, had learning or behavioural difficulties.

Things came to a head when a seriously disturbed boy, excluded from two other schools, joined her class.

Her requests for additional support were turned down, and a nursery nurse was diverted from her classroom to keep on top of paperwork.

TROUBLESHOOTER MISSED TARGET

TORSTEN Freidag, the best-known of the Government's new breed of "superheads", became a familiar face to millions in a BBC documentary which, as it turned out, was to chart his downfall.

The idealistic Mr Friedag arrived at Islington Arts and Media school, in north London, to reverse years of under-achievement.

The project began to turn sour when pupils had to be turned away from lessons because building work was still going on, and repeated attempts to produce a working timetable failed. Mr Friedag resigned in March.

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