Wednesday, November 07, 2012

British drama teacher facing dismissal after she is convicted of hitting pupil, 13, with folder for talking in class

A drama teacher could be sacked after being convicted for smacking a 13-year-old boy in the head with a folder because he was talking in class.  Vanessa Greening, 49, lost her temper with the child as he watched other pupils perform at a high school in Tipton, in the West Midlands.

A court heard Greening flipped and slammed the folder she was holding into the schoolboy's head after hearing someone speak during the performance.

Greening from Bearwood, Birmingham, was sentenced to a six-month community order at Sandwell Magistrates Court on Friday last week after being found guilty of common assault.

The young victim, who was sat next to his teacher at Alexandra High School, had admitted speaking when he shouldn't, but claimed when Greening lashed out with the binder he hadn't said a word.

She was hauled before magistrates after parents of the pupil complained to teachers who then contacted the police.

Greening, who turned up to court clutching a folder, now faces the sack following a career in the classroom spanning 30 years.

Prosecuting, Kelly Crowe said: 'Whilst they were watching the group do the piece of work, someone spoke, and the defendant who had a folder in her hand slammed it once to his head.'

The court heard the boy was shocked but uninjured and later told police 'it didn't hurt'.

JPs were also told Greening, who had pleaded not guilty, had been previously reprimanded for her conduct.

Defending Laura Culley said she didn't accept that the incident happened 'intentionally or otherwise.'

Following the case, headteacher Ian Binnie did not confirm whether Greening would lose her job or not.

Headteacher Ian Binnie said in a statement: 'The school reported the allegations made to the police and worked closely with them during their investigation.  'I am aware of the verdict but I am unable to comment further at the moment as the school's disciplinary procedures are underway.'


British teachers off school for "training" are caught at wedding: Head accused of lying in letter to parents

When father-of-two Kamal Hussain received a letter from school saying classes would be ending early for staff development, he duly arranged for his children to have the afternoon off.

But he became suspicious when he spotted three teachers in smart clothing driving past him when they were meant to be at school for the ‘inset’ (which stands for ‘in-service training’) afternoon.

Calling in at the deserted school, he was told by a cleaner that the head and teachers had gone to a colleague’s wedding.  A furious Mr Hussain then drove to the wedding venue and confronted the head, who he says was sitting with 23 of her staff.

Mr Hussain yesterday lambasted head Gillian Pursey, for sending a ‘blatant lie’ in an official letter to parents. He said: ‘I was just so angry and furious. I teach my children not to lie – what sort of example does that set?  ‘I’ve lost my trust and confidence in them and I’m going to look to move my children elsewhere.’

He called for an inquiry into the matter, saying pupils had lost hundreds of hours of teaching between them.

Mrs Pursey, 51, head of St Hilda’s Primary School, Oldham, sent a letter saying classes would end at 2pm on Tuesday, October 30, instead of 3.30pm, for ‘staff development’.  Teachers are entitled up to five days at school without pupils present so they can carry out administrative tasks or training.

However, Mr Hussain, 35, who had recently been refused time off for his own children to attend a family wedding, found Mrs Pursey and up to 23 of her staff sitting down for a meal at a colleague’s wedding.  When he confronted Mrs Pursey at her table, she claimed the teachers had been given time off to ‘do research’, adding she had the governors’ permission.

Mr Hussain added: ‘But to my understanding the governors don’t have the real authority to put in jeopardy the education of 500 pupils.’

Last night Mrs Pursey said: ‘Staff were given that hour and a half of staff development time to research things for the school’s golden jubilee celebrations.  ‘They could do that research on or off site, and whenever they liked. Some decided to do it straight away, and others decided to do it after the wedding.  ‘It was all agreed with the school governors and is all  above board.’

An Oldham Council spokesman said: ‘This is an interim management issue for the school and no action will be taken.’


Disruptive under-fives 'blacklisted by British schools' who are also judging parents by their jobs

If schools were allowed effective discipline options, they wouldn't need to do this

HEAD teachers are screening out unwanted pupils by trawling nurseries for disruptive children and blacklisting them, it was claimed yesterday.  They are also accused of judging parents on their jobs and trying to dissuade those in lowlier roles from making an application.

A primary head lifted the lid on ploys he claims some fellow schools are using to weed out poorly-behaved or low-achieving pupils.  Nigel Utton said one headmistress checks nurseries for disruptive pupils and puts their names on Post-It notes in her office.  She then tries to ensure they don’t get places by giving their parents ‘a bad view’ of the school.

He claimed a second head told a lorry driver that sending his son to the school would be similar to forcing him to work as a brain surgeon.

According to Mr Utton, head of Bromstone Primary, Broadstairs, Kent, the vast majority of schools, both primary and secondary, are using subtle techniques to engineer their intakes.

He called on Ofsted and the Government to crack down on the practices and reward schools which do well with a broad intake of pupils.

His remarks received support from Children’s Commissioner Maggie Atkinson, who is conducting an inquiry into ways that schools illegally ‘exclude’ pupils by asking them to leave without formally suspending or expelling them.  She condemned schools which ‘pull up the drawbridge’ and ‘let children fail’.

Speaking at a seminar in central London staged by Westminster Education Forum, Mr Utton warned that pressure on schools to maintain test results was driving some to use dubious methods to keep out pupils considered disruptive or difficult.

‘This is what some of my colleagues do across the country,’ he said.  ‘Basically they don’t let them in. And there are different ways of not letting them in.

‘One head teacher I know of puts Post-It notes on her wall.  ‘She goes round the nurseries finding out which are the disruptive children and puts their names up on her wall, and those children don’t get into her school.’  This head’s school had been judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, he said.

The school must abide by national rules on fair admissions so the head tries to stop them applying in the first place.

Mr Utton, who said his own school took pupils with a range of needs and abilities, claimed that another common ruse was to ‘alienate’ parents at open days or show-rounds.  ‘When a parent comes and looks round your school, you are rude to them so they don’t go to your school, they go to the school down the road.’

Some heads attempted to ‘signpost’ families to other local schools, claiming they would be more suitable for their children.

A further strategy was to ‘denigrate’ parents according to their jobs.  ‘A parent was sent to me, a lorry driver. He was told by the head teacher of an outstanding school, “your child coming to our school would be an equivalent of asking you to be a brain surgeon”,’ he said.  ‘This is a real example from this year. The kid came to my school.’

He added: ‘Once the children are in, if they are kids you don’t like, there are ways of getting rid of them.’

He also hit out at the trend for children with behavioural problems to be ‘drugged’ with Ritalin.

Rosi Jordon, deputy head of Chessbrook, a unit for expelled pupils in Hertfordshire, said schools felt under pressure to ‘get shot’ of some children ‘at all costs’ to boost their league table positions.

She told the seminar that schools were increasingly aware that pupils who fail to meet exam benchmarks can knock ‘half a per cent’ of the school’s overall score.

‘I know of one head teacher who will say, “Leave your personal problems at the school gate. When you are in here, you are doing your work, and I do not want to know anything of what happens personally with you”,’ she said.  ‘”You can only be here if you are performing for us, and if you’re not - go”.’


No comments: