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Sacked head guilty of misconduct

22 January 09 19:24 GMT

A head teacher who was made a dame for services to education has been found guilty of misconduct.

Dame Jean Else, the former head of Manchester's Whalley Range High School, was also banned from working as a member of a school management team.

Dame Jean, 57, was criticised by a General Teaching Council panel for the way she promoted her twin sister.

She was found guilty of failing to observe minimum standards in recruiting and promoting staff.

GTC panel chairwoman Anne Garner said Dame Jean's recruitment of a small number of staff without proper scrutiny had fallen short of the standards of integrity expected of a teacher.

Ms Garner said: "Dame Jean's behaviour potentially deprived good candidates from an opportunity to contribute to the educational process at Whalley Range.

"This was a failure to observe basic standards of equal opportunities for employment."

Failure acknowledged

Ms Garner added the panel was not satisfied the ex-head understood the true nature of her misbehaviour.

Dame Jean has apologised to the General Teaching Council panel for not following procedures during her 10 years in charge of Whalley Range.

She acknowledged she had not observed recruitment standards when making several appointments at the school, including that of her twin sister.

She rose from a part-time post as a clerical assistant to earn more than £58,000-a-year as assistant head.

Dame Jean transformed the school with the worst truancy record in England into one at which more than half of pupils gained more than five GCSEs at A*-C.

She was suspended in 2004 and dismissed two years later.

The hearing in Birmingham was told Dame Jean failed to follow proper procedures in relation to 10 staff at the school, including her twin, Maureen Rochford.

Ms Garner told Dame Jean her actions in regard to her own pay and external consultancy also failed to observe the requisite standards of openness expected of a teacher.

Ms Garner added: "Allowing a close member of one's family to be recruited and promoted, as Dame Jean did, undermines the confidence that the public have in trusting that the very best staff available are recruited to teaching posts.

"Even if Dame Jean's sister had been the best person for the job, she failed to ensure this was objectively demonstrated.

"The evidence which Dame Jean has given has not convinced the committee that she has learned from these events and will not repeat her mistakes.

"The committee are not satisfied that Dame Jean understands the true nature of her misbehaviour which has led to her appearing before the GTC."

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