Decision: Eileen Kirkpatrick (Outcome)

GTC Scotland Fitness to Teach Panel Outcome

Unchallenged Recommendation

28 January 2022

TeacherEileen Kirkpatrick (not present)
Registration Number960120
Registration CategoryPrimary Education
PanelJacqueline Blair, Michelle Farrell and Marie Lyon
Legal AssessorFiona Drysdale
Servicing OfficerJennifer Fairweather
Teacher’s representativeDarren Wapplington, NASUWT (not present)

Definitions

Any reference in this decision to:

  • ‘GTC Scotland’ means the General Teaching Council for Scotland;
  • the ‘Panel’ means the Fitness to Teach Panel considering the case;
  • the ‘Rules’ means the GTCS Fitness to Teach Rules 2017;
  • the ‘Standards’ means the GTCS Standards for Registration 2012;
  • the ‘SFR’ means the GTCS Standard for Full Registration;
  • the ‘SPR’ means the GTCS Standard for Provisional Registration;
  • the ‘Local Authority means Glasgow City Council; and
  • the ‘Register’ means the GTCS register of teachers.

Recommendation

GTC Scotland received a recommendation from the Local Authority that the Teacher’s registration be removed because it is alleged that she lacks professional competence.  In the Case Overview Report submitted with the recommendation, it is alleged that the Teacher lacks professional competence with reference to her failure to meet and maintain the sections of the Standards as indicated by an ‘N’ in the following table, standards met are indicated by a ‘Y’ and ‘NJ’ indicates no judgement:

1Professional Values and Personal CommitmentSFR
1.1Social JusticeNJ
1.2IntegrityNJ
1.3Trust and RespectNJ
1.4Professional CommitmentNJ
2Professional Knowledge and UnderstandingSFR
2.1Curriculum
2.1.1Have knowledge and understanding of the nature of the curriculum and its development.NJ
2.1.2Have knowledge and understanding of the relevant area(s) of pre-school, primary or secondary curriculum.NJ
2.1.3Have knowledge and understanding of planning coherent and progressive teaching programmes.N
2.1.4Have knowledge and understanding of context for learning to fulfil their responsibilities in literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing and interdisciplinary learning.N
2.1.5Have knowledge and understanding of the principles of assessment, recording and reporting.N
2.2Education Systems and Professional Responsibilities
2.2.1Have knowledge and understanding of the principal features of the education system, educational policy and practice.N
2.2.2Have knowledge and understanding of the schools and learning communities in which they teach and their own professional responsibilities within them.N
2.3Pedagogical Theories and Practice
2.3.1Have knowledge and understanding of relevant educational principles and pedagogical theories to inform professional practices.N
2.3.2Have knowledge and understanding of the importance of research and engagement in professional enquiry.N
3Professional Skills and AbilitiesSFR
3.1Teaching and Learning
3.1.1Plan coherent, progressive and stimulating teaching programmes which match learners’ needs and abilities.N
3.1.2Communicate effectively and interact productively with learners, individually and collectively.N
3.1.3Employ a range of teaching strategies and resources to meet the needs and abilities of learners.N
3.1.4Have high expectations of all learners.N
3.1.5Work effectively in partnership in order to promote learning and wellbeing.N
3.2Classroom Organisation and Management
3.2.1Create a safe, caring and purposeful learning environment.N
3.2.2Develop positive relationships and positive behaviour strategies.N
3.3Pupil Assessment
3.3.1Use assessment, recording and reporting as an integral part of the teaching process to support and enhance learning.N
3.4Professional Reflection and Communication
3.4.1Read and critically engage with professional literature, educational research and policy.N
3.4.2Engage in reflective practice to develop and advance career-long professional learning and expertise.N

The Case Overview Report explained to the Teacher why the Local Authority formed this view.

The Teacher stated to GTC Scotland in writing that she did not wish to challenge the recommendation made.  

Decision

The Panel carefully considered all of the written evidence provided with the Case Overview Report, which was:

  1. Case Overview Report, dated 13 October 2020
  2. Evidence submitted by the Local Authority in support of the recommendation
  3. Report of Colleague 1, dated 1 December 2020
  4. Report of Colleague 2, dated 22 November 2020
  5. Teacher’s response to Case Overview Report, unsigned and undated
  6. Email from Teacher’s Representative confirming no longer challenging recommendation dated 29 March 2022
  7. Email submission from Teacher’s Representative regarding removal period, dated 14April 2022.

The Panel considered all the material above and referred to the GTC Scotland Professional Competence Cases Practice Statement. The Panel was mindful that the Teacher had had sight of all this material and had confirmed that she did not wish to challenge the recommendation. The Panel saw no reason to doubt that the Local Authority’s recommendation for removal was made in good faith and it accepted as credible all of the material that had been submitted. The Panel noted that the Teacher is a fully registered teacher and as such was required to maintain the SFR. The Local Authority was not required to assess the Teacher against the SPR.

The Panel considered whether there were exceptional circumstances which meant that it was in the public interest for a hearing to be held. The Panel considered that there was significant body of evidence over a period of time to suggest that the Teacher fell short in a significant number of standards and that any strengths mentioned in her observations were not relevant to her competencies. The Panel had regard to the unfortunate personal circumstances of the Teacher. The Panel raised concerns about attainment and failure to deliver to the pupils what they required and that they were no longer ‘on track’. The Panel considered that given the level of support provided to the Teacher, it would have expected to have seen improvement over a period of time but in fact, the Panel could see no evidence of improvement, and it appeared as though the Teacher was not following up on the guidance or advice given to her. The Panel noted that the school had engaged with the Teacher’s requests for support to assist her in improving her practice but there was no evidence of any improvement having been made. The Panel had regard to the number of staff provided to mentor the Teacher, whom she was able to observe, model practice with her and plan with her. The Panel noted that there had been support in place for the Teacher within the school over an extended period of time. The Panel considered the public interest, including the protection of the members of the public, the maintenance of the public’s confidence in registrants and in the integrity of the teaching profession, the maintenance of the public’s confidence in GTC Scotland as a professional regulator, the need to declare and uphold proper teaching standards and the deterrent effect that the determination may have upon other GTC Scotland registrants. The Panel considered that in all the circumstances that a hearing was not necessary and agreed with the Local Authority’s recommendation. The Panel was satisfied that the evidence before it demonstrated that the Teacher had failed to maintain the SFR identified and that she is currently unfit to teach.

As provided for by Rules 3.1.1 and 3.8, the Panel directed that the Local Authority’s recommendation be accepted and ordered that the Teacher’s name be removed from the Register accordingly. In addition, the Panel noted that in accordance with section 18(2)(b) of The Public Services Reform (General Teaching Council for Scotland) Order 2011, it could only direct as such, given that it considered that the Teacher is currently unfit to teach.

Once the Teacher’s name has been removed from the Register, her name remains so removed unless and until an application for re-registration is made by her and a Fitness to Teach Panel directs that the application be granted. 

The Panel considered the appropriate period of time within which the Teacher should be prohibited from re-applying for registration, given the number of standards in which the Teacher fell short and the level of support she had received. The Panel hoped that the Teacher would be well enough within 18 months to engage with the process of improvement by doing a postgraduate course. The Panel recognised the Teacher’s poor health, that she would still require a high level of support, a period of time to ensure that her health was better and an opportunity to provide evidence. 

In accordance with Rule 3.8.3, the Panel directed that the Teacher should be prohibited from making an application for re-registration for a period of 18 months from the date of this decision. The Panel considered this to be an appropriate and proportionate period of time with reference to the content of the recommendation that had been made and accepted and the extent of the shortfalls identified.

Right of Appeal

In addition to the right of review as set out above, in accordance with Article 24 of the Public Services Reform (General Teaching Council for Scotland) Order 2011, the Teacher has the right to appeal to the Court of Session against the decision within 28 days of the date of service of the written notice.

The Teacher’s name will remain on the Register until the appeal period has expired and any appeal lodged within that period has been determined.

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