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Veteran is told to retrain in modern methods

A teacher with 25 years' experience has been suspended for nine months and told she can only return to the classroom after training in current methods.

Inspectors failed four out of five lessons taken by Wendy Pearson, when she was head of PE at Dame Elizabeth Cadbury technology college in Bournville, Birmingham. She resigned in March 2001 following a competency procedure and a meeting of the school's governors that found her unfit to teach.

In September she withdrew a claim for unfair dismissal after being advised she was unlikely to be successful. Her union, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, had also indicated it would not support her. England's General Teaching Council last week suspended Miss Pearson until August 31, 2004. She did not attend the hearing.

Miss Pearson claimed at an earlier hearing that she had been set up to appear incapable. "It was obvious the school was determined to dismiss me," she said. She alleged she had been sabotaged because computer disks containing work and exam papers had disappeared.

But Andrew Connell, GTC committee chair, said the council was not convinced that the shortcomings of others were responsible for the behaviour.

The GTCE, sitting in Birmingham, heard that Miss Pearson had failed to manage the curriculum adequately. She did not co-operate with colleagues or provide clear objectives for pupils. Sarah Page, presenting officer, said:

"On a number of occasions she had been unable to get the basics straight."

Miss Pearson, from Selly Oak, Birmingham, had been a teacher at the school since 1982, first as its head of PE, and later as head of business studies.

She had claimed that stress caused by a "hostile working environment" had caused health problems. However the committee decided that her health would not have affected her performance at the time of her competency hearing.

Friday magazine 8

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