Admin load is teacher's downfall

31st October 2003 at 00:00
A primary teacher who wrote to parents complaining about paperwork after failing to submit planning and evaluation files has been reprimanded by England's General Teaching Council.

Nigel Mills repeatedly failed to hand in files for fortnightly monitoring by the headteacher while he was employed at St Andrew's Church of England primary in Worsley, Manchester.

He told members of staff that he had an ethical dilemma over the bureaucratic demands and sent a letter to parents complaining about the difficulties he had with paperwork.

Mr Mills resigned on January 23 - 17 days after being suspended. Peter Simpson, head at the school since 1984, told the GTCE that he had never experienced a situation like it.

"In all my time as a teacher, I have never met a teacher who has point-blank refused to undertake a task, or has sent such a letter to parents."

He appointed Mr Mills to teach Year 6 pupils in September 2002 and was aware he had suffered problems with paperwork in his previous job at St Paul's C of E primary, also in Manchester.

Mr Mills had asked that he be employed only for one term in case he experienced the same problems, but it had been agreed that he would be given a one-year contract.

But just two months into the job he told the head he was experiencing difficulties fulfilling the paperwork requirements and was doing his best to deal with the backlog.

Mr Simpson told the GTCE that Mr Mills failed to submit the required curriculum planning and evaluation files on three occasions.

"When I met briefly with him on December 19 to discuss the requirements for the following year, I indicated he should make his intentions clear by the end of the term so that if he was to resign it would cause less disruption."

The following day, Mr Simpson was handed a letter by a parent of one of Mr Mills' pupils, who was also a teacher at the school, which had been sent home.

In the letter, Mr Mills complained of the difficulties he had experienced with filing the paperwork.

The GTCE was told the letter, which had not been seen or approved by the head and was written from Mr Mills' home address for parents to reply to, was in breach of school policy.

The GTCE issued a two-year reprimand but said that Mr Mills, who was not present at the hearing and chose not to be represented, could carry on teaching.

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