Absent teacher left trainee in charge

11th February 2005 at 00:00
A teacher who was frequently absent without leave and left a student teacher in charge of her class has been found guilty of unacceptable professional competency by England's General Teaching Council.

Rita Jackson, formerly of Flockton Church of England first school in Wakefield, was given a two-year registration order.

The GTC decided her attendance was poor and she did not inform the headteacher of her absences.

It heard she had not adequately planned lessons, completed planning for inspections and failed to organise an inter-school sports event which ended in chaos, with pupils running out on to a busy main road.

Mrs Jackson, who has more than 30 years' experience as a teacher, did not attend last week's hearing in Birmingham but accepted the allegations against her in a letter to the GTC.

She resigned as teacher of Year 4 and 5 pupils in November 2003 after she failed to meet targets set to improve her attendance and lesson planning.

Mrs Jackson said in her letter that her behaviour was caused by stress after her father died in 2001 and her husband left her without warning in September 2002.

Stephen Payne, her representative, said: "She was a confident and successful teacher for many years who suddenly had serious difficulties."

References from former colleagues described her as a well-organised and dedicated teacher with a good attendance record.

Thelma Walker, headteacher, told the GTC that problems with Mrs Jackson's attendance and planning worsened after her husband left.

She was away from school during the first week of term and only back for a week before she went on sick leave again from September 17 to October 28 and between November 8 and January 3.

Despite assurances that she was well enough to teach, the GTC heard that on occasions Mrs Jackson would ring in sick, start her lesson but leave early, or arrive at the school in a distressed state.

The conditions of Mrs Jackson's registration order mean she has to submit reports on attendance and planning to her headteacher and the GTC every term if she is employed as a teacher again.

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