"Rude and aggressive" teacher allowed to continue teaching

19th March 2010 at 00:00

A teacher who was "rude and aggressive" to pupils has been allowed to continue working in the classroom.

Russell Kavanagh had a "confrontational" approach to his job, a General Teaching Council panel heard. Other staff said he "inflamed" unruly children in the classroom while working at Queen's Park High School in Chester between September 2007 and June 2008 and spoke inappropriately to students.

The GTC upheld complaints from pupils and teachers that Mr Kavanagh had spoken inappropriately to students. It said that although Mr Kavanagh had "initially" been a supportive teacher, by 2008 he was "constantly criticising pupils and gave negative feedback".

Mr Kavanagh was accused of calling "student Q" fat and ugly. He admitted saying to "student L" "you've got a big gob and need to learn when to keep it shut". The GTC panel heard the child was "upset" by the comment but Mr Kavanagh said he only said it as "part of his banter".

The IT teacher also admitted calling "student I" a "nerd" and saying "no wonder you don't get any girls". In a statement the pupil said the comment was made "jokingly" and that he had a good relationship with the teacher. The GTC found that the comment was not inappropriate because of the context in which it had been made.

Mr Kavanagh was cleared of charges of "overzealous and unnecessary" handling of another child when removing him from a hall. He was also found not guilty of failing to mark properly, failing to meet deadlines, not running GCSE catch-up sessions and of advising children to copy others if they did not understand the work.

But the GTC panel did find proof that he failed to appropriately address issues concerning student misbehaviour by inflaming "situations through an aggressive and confrontational approach".

"In his response, Mr Kavanagh acknowledged that he may have become more irritated and aggressive as a result of his poor diabetes control," the panel said.

The GTC panel said Mr Kavanagh's diabetes was "irrelevant" and found him guilty of unacceptable professional conduct but gave him a conditional registration order.

"His conduct falls below the standard expected of a registered teacher," it said.

The GTC panel criticised the school's senior management for their lack of support and for not following proper procedures during their investigation into his behaviour.


Heather Lang told a girl with learning difficulties Bredon School, Gloucestershire, that she smelt "like a sanitary towel" within earshot of other pupils on a month-long trip to Brazil. She escaped sanction.

Art teacher Lee Warren, suggested that a parent stick a pair of pliers "up his arse" during a row in a school reception in Basildon, Essex. He was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

Laura Tierney subjected a class at Longbenton Community College, North Tyneside, to a foul-mouthed rant after she claimed staff were spreading rumours about an inappropriate relationship with a pupil.

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