Lecturer who swore in class and made fun of student’s facial twitch banned from teaching

A view of the College of West Anglia from the south tower of King's Lynn Minster (St Margaret's Church). Picture: Ian Burt A view of the College of West Anglia from the south tower of King's Lynn Minster (St Margaret's Church). Picture: Ian Burt

Saturday, August 2, 2014
7:00 AM

A college lecturer who a disciplinary panel found had made fun of a student’s facial twitch and “squared up” to another has been banned from teaching indefinitely after it found his behaviour “involved sustained bullying which undermined some pupils”.

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Dean Mander, a lecturer in building, had denied most of the allegations against him, but said he used sarcasm in his teaching at the College of West Anglia in King’s Lynn “to prepare students for the world of work”.

A professional conduct panel of the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) found the 49-year-old used swear words and generally aggressive language in front of students, and acted in an aggressive, intimidating and bullying manner towards some students.

It found he told one student “nobody wanted [him] on the course”, while another student said in a statement he would “bully me all the time by running me down”.

Other statements described an incident where students thought Mander tried to provoke a student when he “squared up” to him and “was in his face - only three or four inches away”.

One student with a facial twitch wrote that Mander “would get in my face and deliberately copy my facial expressions when I twitched to poke the fun out of me. This was not done in a fun way. He was doing it to bully me”.

The college suspended Mander, who had worked there since 2004, in 2012 during an investigation, and he resigned in August 2012 after it recommended he face a disciplinary hearing.

Mander did not attend last month’s NCTL hearing, and was not represented, but in his letter of resignation said: “I believe that it is part of the role of teacher of a vocational skill in particular to prepare their students for the world of work.

“I do admit at times to using sarcasm in my teaching and reprimanding students who have been wasting time or not taking care over their work, as this is just a taste of what they are likely to experience on the building site.

“On reflection, although my teaching methods created good standards of work and attitude in the majority of students, I can see I may have misjudged the impact upon a minority of less well-adjusted students. I now realise some of [my] actions have been unacceptable and I fully regret this unintentional impact.

“My intentions were only ever to try and get students to fulfil their potential.”

The panel said it was “very concerned” one student left education for good because of Mander’s actions, while another withdrew from the college and only returned when Mander was suspended.

Three other students who were transferred to another campus 13 miles away “continued to believe that being compelled to change campus was a form of punishment for them”.

The panel said his behaviour was incompatible with being a teacher, and his behaviour “involved sustained bullying which undermined some pupils, particularly those that were less able”.

Mander was banned from teaching indefinitely, but can apply for the prohibition order to be set aside after three years.

The panel said he has technical skills which could be valuable to young people in the future, and had shown “some limited insight” and after three years more reflection he might be able to demonstrate his suitable to return to teaching.

Do you have an education story? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

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