Thursday, 28 July 2011

Exam body fails to tighten procedures after teacher sacked for completing student's work

A national educational provider has failed to show it has tightened its procedures after a teacher was sacked for completing student’s work.

John Younghusband, who has now been banned indefinitely from the profession by the General Teaching Council (GTC), worked at All Saints College, a comprehensive school in Gateshead, for three years.

As head of expressive arts he taught performing arts to BTEC level 3. This is one of many vocational/work related courses currently on offer to thousands of young people in subjects such as engineering, travel and tourism, business studies and performing arts. Edexcel, the company who organise them are owned by media giant Pearson PLC.

In 2008, Younghusband was on sick-leave when external verifiers for an assessment of his students work visited the College. If he had been present he would have been expected to show the verifiers four pieces of work as an example of the work of the students under his direction. The task of verifier was a familiar one for Younghusband as he also performed the same role at other institutions earning around £8,000 per annum for his work.

When it proved impossible to locate student’s work an inquiry was ordered and at the GTC panel earlier this year it was reported that he had submitted work that was not the students own, failed to keep their work safe and awarded false grades for work he had failed. Younghusband it was reported had been sacked back in 2008. One of his pupils was Ricky Gibson, now aged 20, who said: “Mr Younghusband kept telling me that I didn't need to do any coursework.”

Without it Gibson, and a number of other students, failed their courses and he was forced to restart his two years of study at Gateshead College. The institution is partnered with the Gateshead Academy of Music and Sound, the body who in September 2010 employed Younghusband as course coordinator on its BTEC music courses.

According to the Judith Doyle, Deputy Principal at Gateshead College, “When the Academy received unsatisfactory references from his previous employer, he was immediately dismissed, in October 2010. We employ teaching staff of the highest quality, dedication and professionalism.  Asked however if the college now felt it necessary to tighten their recruitment procedures no one would comment. 

Also staying pretty silent are the local education authority, Newcastle City Council who said they were “satisfied the matter was dealt with appropriately by All Saints College” and refused to comment on the length of time it had taken for the case to come before the GTC and whether they were concerned that Younghusband had been an external verifier himself. Neither would they say if they were worried enough about possible future similar cases to make it necessary to approach Edexcel to ask them to review their procedures.

On its part Edexcel was unable to say that Younghusband’s case was unique. Neither was the organisation promising to review its procedures to prevent similar ones in the future with its spokesperson saying: “Teacher recruitment is a matter for individual schools and not awarding bodies. This case involved a single individual and has no bearing on the quality and value of BTEC qualifications.”

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