Head kept faith in teaching council

5th December 2003 at 00:00
A headteacher who was cleared of serious professional incompetence by the General Teaching Council for England this week claims that he has gained professionally from the experience.

Christopher Bradbury, 54, former head of St Mary of the Angels Catholic primary, in Walsall, was accused of failing to meet targets for the effectiveness of his management team, staff assessment and budget management.

He resigned in June 2002, after his relationship with Francis Patton, chair of governors, deteriorated. He had been forced to alter the wording of school targets, making them increasingly unreasonable.

Following his resignation, Mr Bradbury was advised that he would be unable to hold any senior management position until the GTCE had processed the case. However, despite 18 months of professional uncertainty, he insists he has remained sanguine.

He said: "I didn't enjoy it. But I imagined the worst possible scenario: the hearing not finding in my favour. After that, any other outcome will only make you feel better.

"I'm a very calm person. I look around at people in other situations: bereavements, crashes, the war in Iraq. Even if my life is not as good as I could want it, it's still a lot better than other people's."

He and his wife, Christine, were always confident that the GTCE would find in his favour once presented with the full facts. But he has not emerged from the experience entirely unscathed.

Mr Bradbury will now be examining options for compensation.

Since 2002, he has been working as a class teacher at St Clare's Catholic primary, in Birmingham, but hopes, eventually, to return to a school management position. "This hasn't put me off a headship, but I'm not going to rush into anything. I will make informed decisions.

The committee heard from Francis Patton at an earlier hearing. He said:

"Parents were complaining about the staffing levels, and the school's test results and position in the league tables were disappointing. I told Mr Bradbury about my concerns and about the lack of an improvement plan. The school was run in a very casual manner."

He said inspectors from Walsall council were called in and a mentor was provided to assist Mr Bradbury, who was given a written warning. But by November 2001, the targets were still not met and a second hearing was arranged for March 2002.

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