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GTC - Fast Track Dismissal for Incompetence

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by cochrane1964, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. cochrane1964

    cochrane1964 New commenter

    INCOMPETENT Scottish teachers will be removed from the profession more quickly under a radical overhaul of disciplinary procedures.

    The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) has published a raft of measures designed to make the process of striking a teacher off quicker and more effective.

    The move, which also impacts on cases of inappropriate or unlawful behaviour, comes just weeks after The Herald revealed it took the GTCS nearly four years to ban a teacher who it later admitted ?simply could not teach?.

    The case raised a number of issues, including the length of time it took to arrange a full disciplinary hearing ? while the teacher continued to work on supply.

    There were also concerns that the hearing itself became bogged down in unnecessarily lengthy testimonies from witnesses.

    Although incompetence in Scottish schools is not seen as a significant problem, there have been long-standing concerns that removing poor teachers from the classroom is problematic. Figures obtained by The Herald in 2010 revealed that just two of Scotland?s 52,000 teachers has been sacked for incompetence in the previous three years.

    Changes proposed by the GTCS in its draft Fitness to Teach and Appeals Rules 2012 include early hearings to determine the severity of cases. The report suggests that, where accusations against a teacher are seen to be serious from the beginning, a temporary suspension could be issued.

    Other moves to speed up the process include allowing a teacher to voluntarily accept disciplinary action without going to a full hearing.

    Hearings could be accelerated by relying less on witnesses appearing in person, with more evidence taken from written statements. The GTCS is also considering claiming back the cost of hearings from teachers if it is found that they have deliberately delayed or obstructed the process.

    In addition, the GTCS has published tougher guidelines on the use of the internet and social networking sites. The new code of conduct warns against teachers ?engaging in an in-appropriate way through the internet? with pupils or ?sending emails or text messages ... of an inappropriate nature?.

    ?Be mindful that the internet and social networking can quickly blur the professional boundary between teacher and pupil,? it adds.

    Last night, Drew Morrice, assistant secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, the country?s largest teaching union, said it was vital disciplinary procedures remained thorough. ?There is much we welcome in these suggestions, but the investigation of complaints and the subsequent disciplinary process has to be properly detailed and should not be speeded up just to satisfy public demand,? he said.

    Mr Morrice said the union had concerns over the threat to claim back costs from teachers deemed to be obstructive. ?We have difficulties with the GTCS deciding whether that was a factor. An independent party would need to be brought in to adjudicate,? he said.

    Anthony Finn, chief executive of the GTCS, said he was keen to have feedback on the proposed changes. ?We believe that real value will be gained from inviting members of the teaching profession, the educational community and the public generally to comment on the significant changes,? he said.

    ?These are important documents that offer guidance to teachers and aspiring teachers about expectations of them as professionals working in the classroom, and as teachers living in wider society.?

    Criticism over the length of time it takes for teachers to be struck off came after the case of a secondary school mathematics teacher, Janet Garner.

    Mrs Garner was removed from the teaching register after a hearing found her guilty of serious professional incompetence while working at Alva Academy and Alloa Academy in Clackmannanshire between 2003 and 2007, when she was sacked by the council.

    In its conclusion, the GTCS stated Mrs Garner was ?ineffective ... in relation to both discipline and teaching and learning. In blunt terms, she simply could not teach?.
     
  2. cochrane1964

    cochrane1964 New commenter

    INCOMPETENT Scottish teachers will be removed from the profession more quickly under a radical overhaul of disciplinary procedures.

    The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) has published a raft of measures designed to make the process of striking a teacher off quicker and more effective.

    The move, which also impacts on cases of inappropriate or unlawful behaviour, comes just weeks after The Herald revealed it took the GTCS nearly four years to ban a teacher who it later admitted ?simply could not teach?.

    The case raised a number of issues, including the length of time it took to arrange a full disciplinary hearing ? while the teacher continued to work on supply.

    There were also concerns that the hearing itself became bogged down in unnecessarily lengthy testimonies from witnesses.

    Although incompetence in Scottish schools is not seen as a significant problem, there have been long-standing concerns that removing poor teachers from the classroom is problematic. Figures obtained by The Herald in 2010 revealed that just two of Scotland?s 52,000 teachers has been sacked for incompetence in the previous three years.

    Changes proposed by the GTCS in its draft Fitness to Teach and Appeals Rules 2012 include early hearings to determine the severity of cases. The report suggests that, where accusations against a teacher are seen to be serious from the beginning, a temporary suspension could be issued.

    Other moves to speed up the process include allowing a teacher to voluntarily accept disciplinary action without going to a full hearing.

    Hearings could be accelerated by relying less on witnesses appearing in person, with more evidence taken from written statements. The GTCS is also considering claiming back the cost of hearings from teachers if it is found that they have deliberately delayed or obstructed the process.

    In addition, the GTCS has published tougher guidelines on the use of the internet and social networking sites. The new code of conduct warns against teachers ?engaging in an in-appropriate way through the internet? with pupils or ?sending emails or text messages ... of an inappropriate nature?.

    ?Be mindful that the internet and social networking can quickly blur the professional boundary between teacher and pupil,? it adds.

    Last night, Drew Morrice, assistant secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, the country?s largest teaching union, said it was vital disciplinary procedures remained thorough. ?There is much we welcome in these suggestions, but the investigation of complaints and the subsequent disciplinary process has to be properly detailed and should not be speeded up just to satisfy public demand,? he said.

    Mr Morrice said the union had concerns over the threat to claim back costs from teachers deemed to be obstructive. ?We have difficulties with the GTCS deciding whether that was a factor. An independent party would need to be brought in to adjudicate,? he said.

    Anthony Finn, chief executive of the GTCS, said he was keen to have feedback on the proposed changes. ?We believe that real value will be gained from inviting members of the teaching profession, the educational community and the public generally to comment on the significant changes,? he said.

    ?These are important documents that offer guidance to teachers and aspiring teachers about expectations of them as professionals working in the classroom, and as teachers living in wider society.?

    Criticism over the length of time it takes for teachers to be struck off came after the case of a secondary school mathematics teacher, Janet Garner.

    Mrs Garner was removed from the teaching register after a hearing found her guilty of serious professional incompetence while working at Alva Academy and Alloa Academy in Clackmannanshire between 2003 and 2007, when she was sacked by the council.

    In its conclusion, the GTCS stated Mrs Garner was ?ineffective ... in relation to both discipline and teaching and learning. In blunt terms, she simply could not teach?.
     
  3. xmal

    xmal Occasional commenter

    "There were also concerns that the hearing itself became bogged down in unnecessarily lengthy testimonies from witnesses."
    Frightning that the GTC thinks that witness testimony might be "unnecessary".
     
  4. Dominie

    Dominie New commenter

    The proposals are out for consultation. www.gtcs.org.uk. Make sure you have your say!
     
  5. Unnecessarily lengthy is very different to unnecessary.
     
  6. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    Which perhaps begs the question, how did the teacher in question manage to successfully complete ITE training, followed by the required probationary period and then obtain a teaching job at interview?
    The case dates back to November 2003, a time when there was still concern about the shortage of Mathematics teachers in education. The first stage of GTCS competence procedures began in September 2004, less than one year later.
    Whatever the rights or wrongs of the case, should we not also be asking questions of the ITE institution that passed her, the probationary school that judged her placement satisfactory and the GTCS themselves for awarding her full registration?
    Perhaps if someone had been prepared to say, at an early stage, 'Look, I don't think teaching is the career for you', then perhaps this unfortunate situation need never have arisen.
    I wonder if anyone in authority will take responsibility for failings in the system?
     
  7. xmal

    xmal Occasional commenter

    But until that evidence has been presented in full it is impossible to decide if it was necessary or not. We can never allow a situation where evidence is not allowed to be given because it is too long. It seems that the GTCS had already made up its mind and resented having to sit through testimony. (I know - "frightening" from post 2).
     
  8. Will the accepted definition of incompetence also be revised and made more clear? What about bullying, impulsive or whimsical SMT/Heads of Department who make nervous wrecks of some teachers, then cry "incompetent"?
    There are some teachers who are pretty poor at bureaucracy but are cracking, charismatic classroom presences and vice versa.
    I've seen teachers who have been in with the bricks and are clearly jaded, unflinching in their methods (in a bad way) and are happily ticking off the hours until they retire. they figure that, provided they register kids' presence and don't do anything majorly criminal, you have a job for life.

    I'm all for outside auditors to evaluate the performance of teachers based on:
    1)Professionalism
    2)Quality of lessons and teaching
    3) Attendance and basic duties.
    This could lead to performance related pay enhancement for the best of us, secure the rest of us a safe and bully-free teaching environment and provide a three-strikes and you're out framework for genuine cases of active incompetence.
    This starts from the top down - a streesed teacher is not incompetent. This could asuage some injustices as the incompetent one is the unreasoning, lying or absent manager that may bully - not the stressed, "drowning" teacher they have unfairly burdened.

     
  9. morrisseyritual

    morrisseyritual Occasional commenter

    I think that the incompetence procedure isn't just a punitive measure - it reallycan help those struggling with the job out of it.
     
  10. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    I think we already have such a system - it's called monitoring and evaluation and, in addition, we also have internal LA School Reviews and external HMIe inspections.
    Performance related pay is wide open to abuse even in the business sector. Did the top bankers really deserve their massive bonuses? How would a teacher's 'performance' be measured?
    Who decides who are the 'best' teachers? Are they the ones who act in the best interest of the pupils, the best interest of the policy makers or just in the best interest of themselves?
    How do you secure a safe and bully-free teaching environment when initiatives, no matter how daft, are simply imposed by central government and constructive educational debate is stifled?
    What would be the definition of 'genuine cases of active incompetence' and which age group are likely to cause the greatest long-term damage?
    Would you target NQTs who after 4 years training, and a supported probationary year, still admit that they haven't a clue where to begin, or the experienced teachers who have already successfully educated generations of pupils and are now considered 'past their sell-buy date' because they don't buy into all the 'new', vague and untried methods?
    A good mix of youth and experience is essential in a healthy education system. The time to assess 'competence' is at the training stage. If dedicated, and skilled, staff later become 'jaded' because of unreasonable workload, pointless bureaucracy and daft initiatives, that's a fault in the education system, not the teacher.
    Indeed, perhaps we should start to question the 'competence' of those who have managed to demoralise so many in the teaching profession, in such a short a period of time.
     
  11. kibosh

    kibosh Star commenter

    Totally agree. Another great post from you (I love reading your posts). You really are on a roll lately [​IMG]
     

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