Agency pays out pound;8,000 over unqualifed staff

15th April 2005 at 01:00
A Yorkshire comprehensive has won pound;8,000 from a supply agency which sent an unqualified maths teacher to work at the school.

Celsian supply teacher agency has had to pay the cash to Whitcliffe Mount high, in Cleckheaton.

Celsian, which has six branches nationally, has hundreds of teachers on its books, employed in more than 300 schools. The Leeds branch of the agency sent Andrew Shilling to work at Whitcliffe Mount for a year. He claimed to hold a teaching qualification and a PhD in maths, Six months into his contract officials from Kirklees council discovered Mr Shilling had completed only part of a graduate teacher-training programme and that his highest qualification was an undergraduate maths degree. Alan Davis, head of Whitcliffe Mount, said: "We approached the agency in good faith, assuming that all the proper checks had been made." Irregularities in Mr Shilling's qualifications emerged when the school asked him to fill in its own application form, which was checked by the local authority. Mr Shilling was suspended in January.

A disciplinary hearing was held a month later and he was subsequently dismissed. Now, Celsian has been forced to pay pound;8,000 to the school, reimbursing the finder's fee and the difference between the salary paid to a qualified and an unqualified teacher.

Mr Davis said: "Faced with a recruitment crisis, we will continue to use local agencies." The Celsian recruitment consultant who hired Mr Shilling has left the company. A spokesman said: "This was a one-off problem."

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