On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

17th February 2012 at 00:00

This week: an anonymous complainer

Three years ago, Leonora Rustamova (pictured) was quietly celebrating an unusual teaching initiative that had dramatically increased the English results of a group of "severely disaffected" teenagers. What a good idea it was, you might have thought, to re-engage the boys with reading by penning a novel about them. If results were on the rise, so what if it contained passages about smoking, truancy and drugs? The boys loved it, the head loved it and other teachers at the school were so impressed that they asked Ms Rusty (as she was known) for advice.

Then came the faux pas: the novel was accidentally - and briefly - posted on the internet. Still, no harm done - no one read it. Or so you might have thought, until along came this week's holder of the Naughty Step crown, an unnamed complainer who reported the fleeting internet indiscretion to the school's governors. Then, bang! Ms Rusty's promising classroom career collapsed around her.

Fast-forward three years and this week the General Teaching Council for England (GTC) cleared her completely, some months after the Independent Safeguarding Authority did likewise. Sadly, however, Ms Rusty doesn't think teaching in secondaries is for her anymore. So this is the reason that the anonymous complainer is this week's Naughty Step occupant: for unnecessarily ruining a promising teacher's career. While he or she is there, they might find space for the GTC, too, which surely deserves a rap on the knuckles for taking three years to make a judgement.

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