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Lifetime school ban for cheating King's Lynn teacher who 'let down' students

Springwood High School headteacher Andy Johnson. Picture: Ian Burt

Springwood High School headteacher Andy Johnson. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2013

A "dishonest" teacher has been banned from the country's classrooms for putting other young people's work in A-level students portfolios.

Tina Van Wouw supplied year 12 photography pupils with the work to pass off as their own, a teachers’ disciplinary panel heard.

She was dismissed for gross misconduct by Springwood High in King’s Lynn when a pupil discovered their own work in another student’s portfolio.

Miss Van Wouw, 33, who taught photography and art, was found guilty of “unacceptable professional conduct” by the panel in Coventry.

The National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) heard that up to 70pc of pupils’ sketchbooks had contained work belonging to others.

In its findings, the panel “considered that on the balance of probabilities it is more likely than not that Miss Van Wouw handed the work of current or former pupils to one or more of the year 12 photography pupils for use in their sketchbooks/portfolios to be included as if it was their own”.

Miss Van Wouw, who began teaching at the school in September 2013, was dismissed for gross malpractice in February 2015, after a pupil discovered their own work in another student’s portfolio.

The panel said it considered her actions to be “dishonest” and found that her conduct could bring the teaching profession into disrepute.

Imposing the ban, Jayne Millions, NCTL head of teacher misconduct, said she agreed with the panel that Miss Van Wouw’s actions “fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession”. It was, she said, conduct which could not be reasonably tolerated.

But she said Miss Van Wouw was capable of gaining insight into the appropriateness of her actions to ensure that such conduct was not repeated.

In those circumstances, she added, the way should be left open for Miss Van Wouw to apply to have the ban lifted after two years.

But it was made clear that before the ban was ever lifted, Miss Van Wouw would have to prove to another panel that she was fit to return to teaching.

The school’s headteacher Andy Johnson said that all checks and balances had been in place before her arrival at the school.

He said: “We are extremely disappointed in Tina’s conduct, as she failed to keep up to our standards. She let us down.

“But thanks to extra work and time put in by other art staff, no student was disadvantaged by this incident, and it did not affect the students’ grades. Without their hard work it could have had more of an impact.”

Have you got a school story for the EDP? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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