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Termly checks for struggling teacher

A young teacher who failed to teach to required standards has been given a conditional registration order by the General Teaching Council for England.

The panel found that Heather Wheeler, who taught at Anns Grove primary, in Sheffield, failed to provide quality teaching and ensure that her pupils were making adequate progress.

They concluded she had "demonstrated a level of competence falling seriously short of that expected of a registered teacher".

Mrs Wheeler's contract was terminated in March 2003 after capability procedures and an inspection at the school which graded her teaching as unsatisfactory.

However, during a hearing in Birmingham last week, she was cleared of failing to ensure the safety of her pupils from April 2002 until February 2003.

Under the order Mrs Wheeler must submit a termly report for two years to demonstrate that she is meeting relevant standards.

She has also been banned from working as a supply teacher for the same period.

Professor Eileen Baker, the panel chairman, said: "The observations that were carried out reveal that her teaching was unsatisfactory and remained consistently unsatisfactory over a long period."

She said that Mrs Wheeler was struggling with her class. Jackie Smalley, headteacher, said she was trying very hard and putting in a lot of time and effort, but was not improving at the pace needed.

The committee was also concerned that Mrs Wheeler's Year 6 class was not reaching attainment standards and said that test marks could not be relied upon.

Mrs Wheeler had been unable to show parents their children's work because the standard had fallen short of what was expected.

Roger Gilbert, schools link adviser with Sheffield council, said during an earlier hearing that pupils did not understand what she expected of them.

In the earlier hearing, Mrs Wheeler said that when she joined the school she was not aware that it had been identified as having serious weaknesses.

She complained that senior staff were undermining her in front of pupils.

The panel took into account the fact that the school was identified by the Office for Standards in Education as not being in a good position to train new teachers.

However, it concluded that Mrs Wheeler had received adequate support and noted that another newly-qualified teacher had succeeded at the school.

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