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Teacher asks to be removed from professional register

A PRIMARY school teacher has been removed from the professional teaching register at her request after admitting to being incompetent at her job.

Jan Holden, who worked at Dirleton Primary in East Lothian, was found unfit to teach following repeated reports of dysfunctional and inadequately planned classes.

Ms Holden, from Prestonpans, was removed by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), the professional standards body.

It outlined a series of examples where Ms Holden's lessons lacked focus or where pupils who misunderstood instructions were not put back on track.

During one class, two videos were shown to a group of pupils which were totally irrelevant to the lesson. One of the videos was then simply replayed as soon as it had finished to give the teacher time to provide instruction to other youngsters completing a separate task.

Ms Holden has hit out at her treatment, stressing she was seriously ill with chronic fatigue syndrome and describing official GTCS comments on her health as "vague".

The teacher who said she had enjoyed her five-year stint at the school said that she had been ill.

She added the reason she had wished to be taken off the register was to draw a line under the complaint. She added: "I want to get on with my life and that's it."

GTCS officers investigating the case have outlined a catalogue of poor practice, ranging from pupils being allowed to write numbers backward without correction to a failure to set them regular homework.

In November 2011, after a primary counting task had gone badly wrong because it was far too difficult, Ms Holden said aloud to her class: "This isn't working very well today and I don't know why."

A family member later claimed that Ms Holden was suffering the effects of post-viral fatigue syndrome. He said she had tried to return to work on a phased basis but then resigned voluntarily when it became apparent she was unable to cope with the demands of classroom work.

When later notified that an official investigation was under way, she asked to be removed from the register.

The relative told her local newspaper: "She was really well liked. She got a great send-off when she left. She basically thought about it and decided voluntarily to remove herself from the register."

The GTCS would not comment on the case, adding that an inquiry would have begun as soon as they received reports of a teacher's resignation.

A spokesman said: "As detailed in our annual report, 38 cases were concluded by fitness to teach hearings in 2013 and 27 in 2012 - there are 70,000 people on our register.

"The vast majority of teachers in Scotland do a good job day in, day out, and have no reason ever to be concerned by fitness to teach hearings."

An East Lothian Council spokeswoman confirmed Ms Holden had resigned and had not taught in its schools since.

A number of teachers have been struck off the register over the past year.

In January, Denise Holt, of Maxwelltown High School in Dumfries, was struck off after dishonestly writing her own assessment report and describing her progress as "satisfactory".

In November last year, Rachael Patterson, 28, who taught in Aberdeen, was struck off after she racially abused a nightclub bouncer.

The previous month, David McNally was struck off for two years after telling pupils at Kilwinning Academy in Ayrshire that "Hitler wasn't all bad - he killed the Jews, the gays and the disabled".

Contextual targeting label: 
Education

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