Teacher escapes action on forgery

19th May 2006 at 01:00
A PE teacher who forged signatures on coursework forms escaped censure this week because he is "making a positive contribution to his profession".

Huw Lewis, 30, was found guilty of unacceptable professional misconduct after admitting forging teachers' signatures so pupils' work could be marked in time.

A General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) professional misconduct hearing was told Mr Lewis was put in charge of an "under-resourced" BTEC course in PE at Cwmcarn high school, Caerphilly. He claimed poor pupil attendance, and vindictive allegations from his head of department, led to a "period of turmoil" during which he forged the signatures. The forgery was uncovered when a parent complained about the BTEC course.

Mr Lewis told the Cardiff hearing: "I felt totally abandoned. I was given so little help and and the stress was getting to me.

"I had to lead the course with little support, no training and pupils who hardly attended and had no work ethic. By the time their coursework was handed in I was in a confused state.

"The coursework had to be in and ready for the next day, so I wrote my colleagues' names as if they were signatures. If mistakes were made it was because of my bad state of health."

The hearing was told Mr Lewis felt increasingly isolated in his department and blamed poor planning and a lack of resources on the spiralling failures of the BTEC course.

He also claimed head of department April Dent, a former international women's rugby player, accused Mr Lewis of discussing her sexuality. Mr Lewis's brother Geraint, 35, a deputy head at another school, told the hearing how the allegation led Ms Dent to discredit him at every opportunity.

He said: "Huw confided in me that their professional relationship had broken down. He was not given the support he needed to do his job and he was the victim of vindictive allegations."

Mr Lewis, who now teaches PE at Cardiff high school, was found guilty of serious professional misconduct.

Committee chairwoman Gwen Williams said: "We cannot condone your conduct.

But we do not believe it is in the public interest to impose any action.

"You took on the role as head of the BTEC course without adequate support or guidance. But you have since proved yourself to be an effective teacher."

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