A FORMER Netherton ‘superhead’ and her two deputies have been spared a teaching ban, despite all being found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct after fiddling school registers.
Dame Maureen Brennan, who was honoured by the Queen in 2005 for her exceptional performance at Hillcrest School and Community College, appeared in front of the professional conduct panel of the Teaching Agency alongside her two deputies Linda Westwood and Shelley Derham.
Following the hearing, all three women, who still all work together at Barr Beacon Language College in Aldridge, were found to have acted dishonestly by altering pupil attendance records at the Simms Lane school between 2004 and 2007, after inconsistencies came to light following a routine council audit.
However in a decision which has been endorsed by the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, the panel ruled no further action was appropriate and they were all free to continue teaching.
Alan Meyrick, Deputy Director for the Teaching Agency, said: “There is a public interest in declaring and upholding proper standards of conduct. The Panel is conscious that this public hearing has resulted in a finding of unacceptable professional conduct. This is a significant finding and, in the Panel’s view, satisfies the need to publicly declare and uphold proper standards of conduct.
“The Panel is also conscious of the need to maintain public confidence in the teaching profession. However, in the view of the exceptional mitigating circumstances that we have identified it is not necessary, in the public interest, to impose a prohibition order.”
During the hearing the panel heard how registers had been filled in with incorrect codes and on one occasion all pupils were marked as present when the school was closed.
Some disruptive year 11 pupils were also told to stay at home ahead of their GCSES instead of being formally excluded while other pupils were marked as being on study leave, as early as January, with Dame Mo, who was called “an inspirational figure” by Ofsted inspectors in 2011, informing the hearing how this was to give pupils “every advantage” if prospective colleges or employers asked to see their attendance records.
However Councillor Tim Crumpton, cabinet member for children’s services, voiced concerns following the ruling.
He said: “I am concerned someone with such a high profile continues to be in her job. I believe people in her position should be honest at all times.
“A teacher is someone who should be looked up to, how the hell can anybody look up to this person. All the good work the school put in will continue, despite this happening.”