Workforce - Fire alert teacher struck off after string of blunders

18th October 2013 at 01:00
Teaching council cites safety and assessment errors in ban

A home economics teacher who caused a fire alert that led to the whole school being evacuated because she failed to cover a pot of overheating oil with a damp cloth has agreed to be struck off the teaching register.

Adrienne Park admitted to a string of blunders, including leaving a knife cupboard unlocked and making errors that led to students failing courses they should have passed.

The West Dunbartonshire teacher was also criticised for planning to use a piping bag to demonstrate how to decorate scones. The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) said it was "not a relevant technique". And she wrongly told children in a revision lesson that fruit and vegetables were "nutrients".

The GTCS fitness-to-teach panel heard that Ms Park did not appropriately manage knives - often leaving the knife cupboard unlocked - or supervise children as they cooked.

In October 2010, she failed to cover a pot of overheating oil with a damp cloth, which led to the fire alarm going off and the whole school being evacuated.

She also made a series of errors involving assessment, failing to ensure that three S4 hospitality students were given the chance to resit National Assessment Bank (NAB) items, which resulted in the students failing the course.

In May 2011, Ms Park recorded three S4 hospitality students as having failed, when there was evidence in their folders that they had passed the course units.

Between April and June 2011, she wrongly passed three students who had not selected correct dishes, or had set out incorrect timings and processes, and should have failed.

The GTCS told the panel that Ms Park had failed to organise and retain student material properly, losing student work a number of times, including the S3 students' folder for 2010-11.

She also failed to follow the correct procedures for assessment of NABs. One student had to resit an entire NAB when he had failed only one part.

In addition, the GTCS said that Ms Park had failed to ensure that lessons were at the appropriate level, and students were not being stretched. In some observed lessons there was no direct teaching, and in one she merely repeated a PowerPoint presentation. She also failed to take advantage of the various forms of support that she was given, the GTCS said.

Ms Park's case involved incidents between November 2009 and January 2012, while she was employed by West Dunbartonshire Council. She agreed to be taken off the GTCS register after admitting to every allegation against her.

Meanwhile, it was revealed at the same hearing that another home economics teacher had agreed to be removed from the teaching register.

Kathleen Rogerson (nee MacKenzie), from Midlothian, admitted to submitting assessment evidence on behalf of students for a 2011 lifestyle and consumer technology exam, despite knowing it was not their work. She was also unable to provide internal assessment evidence for the same exam, to enable her school to appeal grades awarded to students. And in January 2012, she submitted assessment grades for her S2 students without having marked or assessed their work.

A third teacher voluntarily left the teaching register last week. Edinburgh primary teacher George Stewart Murdoch agreed to be struck off after he was convicted of a breach of the peace in 2011.

Teachers who agree to be removed from the register must wait two years before they can apply to rejoin it.

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