Work in kebab shop while off sick earns reprimand

17th September 2010 at 01:00

A Glasgow modern studies and French teacher has been reprimanded for working in a kebab shop while claiming sick pay.

Abdelhak Kennar had been signed off from Springburn Academy for months when the school was contacted by a man claiming to have seen the teacher at the takeaway, the General Teaching Council for Scotland's disciplinary sub-committee heard this week.

In early 2009, depute headteacher Gordon Macfarlane took three calls from the man, who would only give his name as "Mr Adam". The caller claimed Mr Kennar was working in the Western Barbecue on Great Western Road, Glasgow.

Mr Kennar, 48, had been off work since autumn 2008 and was recuperating from depression. The committee saw documents confirming his pay while off sick, equating to pound;2,715.25 for 22 days.

Although it was known that his family had a takeaway business, Mr Kennar had not indicated to the school that he intended to work there.

Photos were sent to headteacher Liz Ervine by Mr Adam, months after his initial call. Mr Macfarlane, who has since retired, told the sub-committee they showed Mr Kennar at the counter of a takeaway, with kebab meat in the background.

He and Mrs Ervine called a meeting on April 2, 2009. Mr Kennar was "perfectly open" about working in the family business while off sick: he wanted to support his wife and could not face being in his house all the time.

He denied the GTCS charge of working at the Western Barbecue between January and March 2009, while signed off and claiming occupational sick pay. But he did not appear at this week's hearing, and had no legal representative.

GTCS solicitor Paul Marshall said he was not submitting Mr Kennar - who was sacked by Glasgow City Council - had broken the law or committed fraud, but that his conduct fell short of that expected of teachers.

The sub-committee also heard that a Glasgow history and modern studies teacher told a pupil she was beautiful and invited her to his home.

Richard Cantwell was working at All Saints Secondary when he apparently made contact with pupils by computer, through MSN Messenger. Headteacher Gerry Lyons warned him to stop communicating with pupils in this way, but Mr Cantwell continued to do so.

The sub-committee heard that, as well as using MSN Messenger, Mr Cantwell had sent a girl text messages. He told her, "You're beautiful", and invited her to his home in Airdrie.

The 36-year-old, who has not worked as a teacher since April or May 2009, did not attend the hearing.

His solicitor, Alastair Milne, said Mr Cantwell had a long history of alcohol addiction and appeared to suffer from "chronic conditions" involving anxiety and depression. Medical advice would be required to determine whether he could attend a full hearing on December 14.

In the meantime, the sub-committee will decide at a separate hearing on October 1 whether to hand him a temporary suspension.

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