Aberdeen high school teacher struck off


By Claire McKim

A HIGH school teacher has been struck off for delivering poor lessons and failing to control her classes.

Suzanne Harwood, who taught English in Aberdeen, was found guilty of serious professional incompetence at a disciplinary hearing.

The head of the city’s Hazelwood Academy, together with three principal teachers, gave evidence.

Other teachers, parents and pupils presented a barrage of complaints against Miss Harwood at the hearing in Edinburgh.

The standards of her teaching, assessment of pupils’ learning and classroom management were criticised but Miss Harwood insisted these were “other people’s perceptions”.

The hearing was told that disciplinary action against the teacher began a year after she took up her post in September 2008.

In one lesson, observed by a member of staff, the majority of pupils in Miss Harwood’s class were scribbling with highlighters on their hands, scarves and paper without being spoken to.

During the year 2009/10, a complaint received by the head teacher stated that Miss Harwood had provided pupils with a “string of unstructured information which they are then unable to translate into any kind of meaningful notes”.

Miss Harwood was further found to fail to maintain an adequate level of order and discipline in the classroom and in taking control of her classes.

The charges against the teacher stated: “This failure has allowed high noise levels and repeated disruption to occur in your classes which have been frequently out of control. You have failed to manage pupil behaviour consistently leading to some pupils being cautioned for minor incidents while others display challenging behaviour and are not spoken to.”

Harwood’s attitude towards other teachers at the school also came under fire.

In one instance in October 2009, another English class teacher, Ms Taylor, became aware of a disturbance in Harwood’s class and offered to assist her.

The hearing heard that Harwood ignored her in front of pupils on the first two occasions.

The hearing found Miss Harwood was guilty of “a serious failure to meet or maintain the standard of competence required of a registered teacher”.

She was suspended from her teaching post on June 29 of last year and tendered her resignation one day later.

Miss Harwood has now been removed from the teaching register by General Teaching Council for Scotland and prohibited from applying for restoration to the register for a period of twelve months.