A TEACHER struck off twice for incompetence has lodged a third bid to save her career – in a case which has already cost the profession’s regulators £174,000.
Janet Garner has lodged a bid at the Court of Session to overturn the General Teaching Council for Scotland’s (GTCS) decision to strike her off.
Previous GTCS hearings – which lasted 36 days in total – were told Ms Garner was so incompetent an entire top-set maths class failed a test, and one colleague described her classroom as a “battleground”.
The latest development in the long-running battle between the maths teacher, who taught at Alva and Alloa Academies in Clackmannanshire, was revealed in a Freedom of Information request to the GTCS.
Legal bills and other expenses meant the case has cost the GTCS £174,000 so far, around 30 times the usual amount, and the figure did not include staff time.
The costs of the case are being met by Scottish teachers who fund the GTCS out of their salaries.
Mrs Garner’s first GTCS hearing began in November 2010, and the following year a panel announced she would be struck off after hearing evidence and considering the case for a total of 20 days.
But that decision was overturned after a court ruled the GTCS had not properly proved the allegations.
In August 2013 the GTCS launched a second hearing for Mrs Garner’s case, which lasted a total of 16 days, at which she represented herself.
Case presenter Joyce Cullen told that hearing test results for Mrs Garner’s S3 class at Alva Academy were so poor the “whole class of credit level pupils failed overall” in 2004.
Stuart Rycroft, a former deputy head at Alva Academy, told the hearing he had never had a teacher who had received so many complaints, and who needed as much assistance as Mrs Garner.
He said: “It was quite clear that the classroom had become a battleground.”
A Court of Session judge is expected to rule on the merits of Mrs Garner’s latest appeal in the coming months.
A spokeswoman for the GTCS confirmed yesterday (fri) that Mrs Garner was taking the matter to the Court of Session. She declined to comment further.
But GTCS chief executive Kenneth Muir said the case showed the organisation would do “everything to ensure high standards are maintained in the Scottish teaching profession”.
Despite being “unhappy” about the costs of the case, he said “members of the public and teachers should be reassured by this”.
He continued: “The cost of this case is clearly a huge sum, which was generated by the large number of hearing days involved and the associated legal costs.
“It is, of course, the right of an individual to defend their case and we will always stand by the principle of full and open hearings. We are unhappy at the costs, which come directly from the annual fees paid by registered teachers, but we were left with no other option but to pursue this case.”