Teacher who showed 'persistent failings' claims colleagues plotted to oust him

29th October 2010 at 01:00
GTC suspends him but criticises school for its handling of case

A geography teacher who claimed he was being persecuted and spied on by senior colleagues before being dismissed has been suspended from the profession for 10 months.

George Candano, of Pent Valley Technology College in Folkestone, Kent, said colleagues ran a campaign to "remove" him from his job - giving him high proportions of unruly children, hacking into his computer and "covertly" observing his lessons.

The General Teaching Council for England (GTC) dismissed Mr Candano's claim that the school had been "dishonest" in the way it handled capability proceedings against him. But it said it was concerned by persistent bad behaviour among pupils and high numbes of exclusions at the school.

It also criticised senior managers for missing opportunities to help Mr Candano, who had been at the school for 18 years when he was dismissed in August 2009.

Mr Candano also accused the school of discriminating against him on the basis of his race. He told the GTC hearing he had developed long-term health problems as a result of his experiences at the school.

Mr Candano alleged that the head and senior management team gave him unruly pupils and ill-disciplined class groups. He also said they sent teachers and pupils into lessons to observe him "on a fabricated pretext" and remotely controlled his computer.

The GTC said the poor behaviour in the college was "exemplified by the fact that the disruptive and unruly behaviour of pupils continued even with senior members of the teaching staff and management team present" and "illustrated by a high level of exclusions".

The panel went on to say it was "concerned" senior leaders at the school "missed a number of opportunities" to help Mr Candano improve his performance and did not offer him a full package of support.

It also criticised the "very challenging" objectives imposed on the teacher, and the fact that most of the lessons observed were for Year 9 pupils - a group he had repeatedly expressed concerns about.

But despite this, the panel found that Mr Candano was guilty of serious professional incompetence because of "persistent failings".

"Your inability to manage the pupils' behaviour in your lessons was evident and there was a pattern of students not engaging in class - even if they were not being unruly or disruptive," the GTC panel said.

Mr Candano has to re-train in a school for at least 60 days.

"The committee considered that given the persistent and extensive nature of your failings in competence that the public interest would not be served by imposing no disciplinary order," the GTC panel said.

The committee added that it was concerned about Mr Candano's "lack of insight" in that he consistently argued that his lessons were of satisfactory quality or better.

It noted that at least one set of pupils' books had not been marked for between three and five months.

"You repeatedly refused to co-operate with colleagues who observed your lessons by not signing the forms or engaging in the feedback process," the panel said.


Web of offences

A teacher who viewed "inappropriate adult" websites during school hours and surfed a dating website while teaching a lesson has been suspended from the profession for a year.

David Lovett also left his class unsupervised for 25 minutes, texted and emailed pupils, bought a PlayStation from a Year 8 pupil and held a "support session" alone with a female Year 11 pupil.

Mr Lovett committed the offences while teaching at the Howard of Effingham School, Surrey, and Nescot College, Epsom, in 2007 and 2008.

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