'Caring' woman could not cope with change

22nd July 2005 at 01:00
A "caring" teacher who admitted she found the changes in the curriculum difficult to cope with will have to retrain if she wants to return to the classroom.

Christine Hedley, who taught at Western community primary, Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, was told she would have to complete a refresher course by England's General Teaching Council, at a hearing in Birmingham.

She was found guilty of serious professional incompetence for failing to control her class and teach effectively.

The panel heard from David Shearsmith, education inspector for North Tyneside council, who said concerns were first raised about Mrs Hedley's teaching ability in 2002.

Recalling one observation he said: "The first few minutes were going very well but then it just deteriorated and there was a lack of lesson strategy.

She just put on a show for me, then the lesson went into total disarray."

A support plan was put in place for her between March and November 2003. A meeting was held in December that year when she was again made aware of concerns about her teaching.

A disciplinary meeting was scheduled to take place in May 2004 but she handed in her resignation before this took place.

Mrs Hedley was not present at the hearing where she was also found guilty of failing to plan lessons adequately or consistently. She now works in a bakery but her representative said she had expressed an interest in returning to teaching.

Stephen Payne, Mrs Hedley's representative, said she had been teaching for more than 20 years but had not been able to keep up with curriculum changes.

"Christine is a very caring person. I think she's one of those people who taught for 20 years in a nursery, then there was change after change after change and she could not cope with the pace of the change," he said.

Mr Payne produced a number of character references for her and the panel acknowledged that parents and colleagues had spoken kindly of her.

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