Official barred from BNP conduct case
A teacher who is a member of the British National Party has won his battle to have the chairwoman of the General Teaching Council removed from a disciplinary hearing because he claims she would be biased against him.
Adam Walker, who could become the first teacher to be struck off for religious intolerance, said Judy Moorhouse would fail to carry out a fair investigation because she was a known critic of the BNP.
In animated scenes outside the council's Birmingham headquarters this week, Mr Walker was joined by Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, and other party members who support his fight to remain a teacher.
Using a loudhailer, Mr Walker said: "I am a good teacher and anyone who has been taught by me will tell you that. It's absolutely disgusting that I am in there being hauled over coals by the GTC because of my political beliefs. There's a word called love, but if you love your country, you are a racist in this day and age, and that is wrong."
Mr Griffin said the hearing was "farcical" and a "politically motivated show trial". "Teaching is one of the professions most dominated by a left-wing mentality and has no respect for freedom or democracy," he said.
Mr Walker, 39, a former soldier who resigned from Houghton Kepier Sports College at Houghton le Spring, near Sunderland, last year, has been charged with unacceptable professional conduct for using a school laptop to post racist and anti-Muslim comments.
He is the president of Solidarity, a trade union closely associated with the BNP, and stood as a candidate for the party in last year's local council elections. Mr Walker has previously admitted posting criticisms of immigrants and Muslims, but claims he has been victimised because of his political views. Other teachers were not monitored.
At a hearing on Monday, Mr Walker said Ms Moorhouse, a former president of the National Union of Teachers, should be removed from the panel as she has made speeches against the BNP and supports her union's opposition to the party.
The GTC agreed to a new panel and said it was "not appropriate" to include Ms Moorhouse. It said a fair-minded observer would conclude there was a real possibility that the tribunal was biased.
Mr Walker's brother, Mark, also a BNP supporter, was recently sacked from his teaching post at Sunnydale Community College in Durham. The chair of governors said he was dismissed because of his sickness record. Mark Walker said BNP members were being targeted for their political views.
But a confidential report prepared for Durham children's services by the NSPCC children's charity - and seen by The TES - says he was first suspended in March 2007 after allegations that he had accessed pornographic websites at school.
Further investigations revealed that Mr Walker had exchanged emails with a 17-year-old former pupil who had recently left the school that suggested they were having a sexual relationship. The report said his behaviour had compromised his suitability to continue working with young people.
10 NAMES LEAKED
A leaked BNP membership list included notes next to at least 10 names stating they are teachers. Several more on the list of 10,000 are identified as former teachers.
Their addresses are spread across England, and the subjects they teach include English, ICT, maths, languages and technology. Notes on hobbies include "fitness, fantail doves and koi carp".
Nick Griffin, BNP leader, said the leak was a "disgraceful act of treachery" by a former member.
He told the BBC that it challenged the idea that the BNP's average member was a "skinhead oik".
"So in terms of repositioning us as a party genuinely made up of ordinary British people from all walks of life, that will actually do us good," he said.