Chepstow teacher loses sacking appeal

A FRIEND of a former English teacher who was sacked from a Chepstow secondary school said she is devastated after losing her appeal against the decision.

Former head of English at Chepstow School, Kathy Currie, who began teaching there in 1986, had her appeal heard by a panel of independent teachers or governors from other Monmouthshire schools on Monday.

A Monmouthshire council spokesman said: “We have noted the decision of an appeals panel to uphold the dismissal of a teacher from Chepstow School. We continue to have full confidence in the school and will make no further comment.”

The council has previously told Free Press it cannot reveal why the teacher was sacked and could not comment on an online campaign, set up by former Chepstow School teacher Mike Rees, who retired in 2009 when he was assistant head teacher, backing Mrs Currie’s appeal.

Speaking after the appeal, Mr Rees said: “I am obviously disappointed and disappointed on behalf of the massive support that she has received.”

“The messages of goodwill continue to come in in support of Kathy.”

He said Mrs Currie is unable to comment, but added: “She is obviously devastated after 27 years plus teaching and disappointed that her arguments did not win the day.”

Mr Rees has posted a series of articles on a blog entitled Reinstate Kathy Currie and accused the school of choosing “an all-singing, all-dancing, younger curriculum leader for English”, with the quickest way to achieve this being “to steamroller Kathy’s career and reputation”.

He claimed that since January 2012, 10 experienced teachers have been made redundant, taken voluntary redundancy or, as in Mrs Currie’s case, sacked from Chepstow School.

“This represents over 300 years of experience,” he said.

“Concerns about the capability of Kathy Currie seemed to suddenly surface [in] spring 2012,” Mr Rees wrote. “I can confirm that for the 12 years prior to December 2009, when I was a member of the school’s management teams, no member of these teams ever expressed any doubts regarding Kathy’s ability.

“This is not the way to treat a respected teacher.”

Comments (2)

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1:22pm Mon 3 Feb 14

mr19501 says...

This report states that Mrs Currie's appeal against her dismissal was ‘heard by a panel of independent teachers or governors from other Monmouthshire schools’. Unfortunately this is not true.

In line with the curious system that exists in education the panels that dismissed Mrs Currie and rejected her appeal were in fact made up from Chepstow School Governors. It must be remembered that the governing body appointed the head teacher, with the expectation that she would guide the school to excellence. It must also be remembered that during meetings of a governing body the head teacher is the expert amongst laymen.

A head teacher is in an extraordinary position when it comes to a capability procedure; he/she acts as accuser, target setter and judge on the attainment of those targets. During both the dismissal and appeal hearings a head teacher is allowed to put the case directly to the panel of governors, placing them in a very difficult position.

In this instance the issue was further complicated by the fact that both governors and head teacher were supported by Monmouthshire County council HR. The county is in ‘Special Measures’ for education.

The panel of Chepstow School governors for Monday’s appeal meeting comprised a governor who is also a Monmouthshire County Councillor, a governor who is also an employee of Monmouthshire County Council, and a parent governor. I am not aware that two of the members of this panel have had any experience as governors in such a serious and complex matter.

This is not a claim that the panel would have been subjected to undue influence by the school’s management. However, when the case against Kathy includes the accusation that the 2006 Estyn inspection raised concerns, I have my doubts. I was part of the school’s management at the time. I was involved in the process before, during and after the inspectors’ visit and involved in all the discussions that took place. As a consequence I am able to state that this claim is untrue.

For the record the 2006 Estyn report stated that standards in English at KS3 and KS4 showed good features with no important shortcomings. Post 16 standards were described as being good with outstanding features.

This is the scenario behind the call for Councillor Hacket-Pain to conduct a full and thorough investigation of Kathy’s dismissal. Regrettably she chose to hide behind procedure.
This report states that Mrs Currie's appeal against her dismissal was ‘heard by a panel of independent teachers or governors from other Monmouthshire schools’. Unfortunately this is not true. In line with the curious system that exists in education the panels that dismissed Mrs Currie and rejected her appeal were in fact made up from Chepstow School Governors. It must be remembered that the governing body appointed the head teacher, with the expectation that she would guide the school to excellence. It must also be remembered that during meetings of a governing body the head teacher is the expert amongst laymen. A head teacher is in an extraordinary position when it comes to a capability procedure; he/she acts as accuser, target setter and judge on the attainment of those targets. During both the dismissal and appeal hearings a head teacher is allowed to put the case directly to the panel of governors, placing them in a very difficult position. In this instance the issue was further complicated by the fact that both governors and head teacher were supported by Monmouthshire County council HR. The county is in ‘Special Measures’ for education. The panel of Chepstow School governors for Monday’s appeal meeting comprised a governor who is also a Monmouthshire County Councillor, a governor who is also an employee of Monmouthshire County Council, and a parent governor. I am not aware that two of the members of this panel have had any experience as governors in such a serious and complex matter. This is not a claim that the panel would have been subjected to undue influence by the school’s management. However, when the case against Kathy includes the accusation that the 2006 Estyn inspection raised concerns, I have my doubts. I was part of the school’s management at the time. I was involved in the process before, during and after the inspectors’ visit and involved in all the discussions that took place. As a consequence I am able to state that this claim is untrue. For the record the 2006 Estyn report stated that standards in English at KS3 and KS4 showed good features with no important shortcomings. Post 16 standards were described as being good with outstanding features. This is the scenario behind the call for Councillor Hacket-Pain to conduct a full and thorough investigation of Kathy’s dismissal. Regrettably she chose to hide behind procedure. mr19501
  • Score: 3

1:29pm Mon 3 Feb 14

On the inside says...

mr19501 wrote:
This report states that Mrs Currie's appeal against her dismissal was ‘heard by a panel of independent teachers or governors from other Monmouthshire schools’. Unfortunately this is not true.

In line with the curious system that exists in education the panels that dismissed Mrs Currie and rejected her appeal were in fact made up from Chepstow School Governors. It must be remembered that the governing body appointed the head teacher, with the expectation that she would guide the school to excellence. It must also be remembered that during meetings of a governing body the head teacher is the expert amongst laymen.

A head teacher is in an extraordinary position when it comes to a capability procedure; he/she acts as accuser, target setter and judge on the attainment of those targets. During both the dismissal and appeal hearings a head teacher is allowed to put the case directly to the panel of governors, placing them in a very difficult position.

In this instance the issue was further complicated by the fact that both governors and head teacher were supported by Monmouthshire County council HR. The county is in ‘Special Measures’ for education.

The panel of Chepstow School governors for Monday’s appeal meeting comprised a governor who is also a Monmouthshire County Councillor, a governor who is also an employee of Monmouthshire County Council, and a parent governor. I am not aware that two of the members of this panel have had any experience as governors in such a serious and complex matter.

This is not a claim that the panel would have been subjected to undue influence by the school’s management. However, when the case against Kathy includes the accusation that the 2006 Estyn inspection raised concerns, I have my doubts. I was part of the school’s management at the time. I was involved in the process before, during and after the inspectors’ visit and involved in all the discussions that took place. As a consequence I am able to state that this claim is untrue.

For the record the 2006 Estyn report stated that standards in English at KS3 and KS4 showed good features with no important shortcomings. Post 16 standards were described as being good with outstanding features.

This is the scenario behind the call for Councillor Hacket-Pain to conduct a full and thorough investigation of Kathy’s dismissal. Regrettably she chose to hide behind procedure.
So what. No other employee gets an appeal to people who are not part of the organisation that employs them. She still has a right to take her case to an employment tribunal if she chooses. They are truly independent although this ConDem govt has introduced charges to what was always a free system.

I have no idea if she was harshly treated or not but I wonder if some of the people making a fuss on her behalf may have made things worse for her not better.
[quote][p][bold]mr19501[/bold] wrote: This report states that Mrs Currie's appeal against her dismissal was ‘heard by a panel of independent teachers or governors from other Monmouthshire schools’. Unfortunately this is not true. In line with the curious system that exists in education the panels that dismissed Mrs Currie and rejected her appeal were in fact made up from Chepstow School Governors. It must be remembered that the governing body appointed the head teacher, with the expectation that she would guide the school to excellence. It must also be remembered that during meetings of a governing body the head teacher is the expert amongst laymen. A head teacher is in an extraordinary position when it comes to a capability procedure; he/she acts as accuser, target setter and judge on the attainment of those targets. During both the dismissal and appeal hearings a head teacher is allowed to put the case directly to the panel of governors, placing them in a very difficult position. In this instance the issue was further complicated by the fact that both governors and head teacher were supported by Monmouthshire County council HR. The county is in ‘Special Measures’ for education. The panel of Chepstow School governors for Monday’s appeal meeting comprised a governor who is also a Monmouthshire County Councillor, a governor who is also an employee of Monmouthshire County Council, and a parent governor. I am not aware that two of the members of this panel have had any experience as governors in such a serious and complex matter. This is not a claim that the panel would have been subjected to undue influence by the school’s management. However, when the case against Kathy includes the accusation that the 2006 Estyn inspection raised concerns, I have my doubts. I was part of the school’s management at the time. I was involved in the process before, during and after the inspectors’ visit and involved in all the discussions that took place. As a consequence I am able to state that this claim is untrue. For the record the 2006 Estyn report stated that standards in English at KS3 and KS4 showed good features with no important shortcomings. Post 16 standards were described as being good with outstanding features. This is the scenario behind the call for Councillor Hacket-Pain to conduct a full and thorough investigation of Kathy’s dismissal. Regrettably she chose to hide behind procedure.[/p][/quote]So what. No other employee gets an appeal to people who are not part of the organisation that employs them. She still has a right to take her case to an employment tribunal if she chooses. They are truly independent although this ConDem govt has introduced charges to what was always a free system. I have no idea if she was harshly treated or not but I wonder if some of the people making a fuss on her behalf may have made things worse for her not better. On the inside
  • Score: -3

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