A teacher was so incompetent an entire, top set maths class failed a test, a hearing was told


A TEACHER was so incompetent an entire, top set maths class failed a test, a hearing was told.

Janet Garner also failed to answer maths problems she set her own students, it is claimed.

Mrs Garner struggled to control pupils and her classes were like a “battleground”, witnesses told the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).


One lesson was so bad another teacher allgedly had to intervene in the interests of pupil safety.

The Clackmannanshire teacher now faces being struck off – nine years after serious complaints emerged and six years after she was sacked.

Mrs Garner, who taught at high schools in Alva and Alloa, was struck off by in 2011 but that decision was overturned after a court ruling that the GTCS had not properly proved the allegations.

The teaching watchdog relaunched the case in Edinburgh earlier this week, presenting 10 pages of evidence alleging that she had failed “to maintain the GCTS standard”.

Case presenter Joyce Cullen said that in February 2004 test results for Mrs Garner’s S3 class at Alva Academy were so poor that the “whole class of credit level pupils failed overall”.

In another occasion, said Mrs Cullen, Alloa’s deputy head was observing a lesson in which Mrs Garner made a “basic mathematical error”.

During another observed lesson the same year, Mrs Garner told pupils their answers were wrong when they were correct and she had made the mistake.

Despite her own alleged failings, Mrs Garner could be very critical of pupils. According to Mrs Cullen she asked one child: “Are you completely useless? If I was an employer, I would never employ you. Just get on with it.”

Mrs Cullen added that on another occasion: “You allowed some members of the class to behave so badly, that is was necessary, for reasons of pupil safety, for the person observing the lesson to intervene.”

Stuart Rycroft, a former deputy head at Alva Academy said that he had never had a teacher who had received so many complaints, and who needed as much assistance as Mrs Garner.

He said: “I hadn’t previously had any experience of so many parental complaints against a single member of staff.

“I have never even had a probationary teacher who needed so much assistance as Mrs Garner.”

Mr Rycroft added: “My initial thought was that I would sit in the class and help to try and create a calmer atmosphere, but it was quite clear that the classroom had become a battleground.”

At a hearing in 2011, Mrs Garner was told by the GCTS that she would be removed from the teaching register, as they concluded that she “simply could not teach.”

However, after winning an appeal against the decision at the Court of Session in Edinburgh Mrs Garner was never officially struck off.

Mrs Garner, who is representing herself at the hearing, denies all the charges.

Mrs Garner questioned Mr Rycroft’s attempts to help her, claiming that he and another teacher had not followed school policy when taking action against misbehaving pupils.

She also claimed that Mr Rycroft and the senior management team at Alva Academy failed to follow up on pupils who had received referrals for misbehaving.

Mrs Garner also questioned Mr Rycroft’s claim that he did not know of her class attainment records after 2005, as he was no longer responsible for the department.

She said: “Is it not the case that if I was incompetent it would have been evident in the attainment of my class and you would have been aware?”

In response, Mr Rycroft said he would not know as he was no longer responsible for the maths department at that time.

The hearing continues.