Pupils who behave like delinquents should be treated as such, says teacher
A teacher branded unruly primary school pupils as ‘pests, idiots, clowns and buffoons’ a disciplinary panel heard.
Music master Roger Griffin, 66, denied that the terms were derogatory and insisted that he had used “apt and appropriate language” to describe the eight and nine-year-old pupils who he also labelled “miscreants”.
The now-retired Trinity College of Music graduate also stands accused of playing piano in the school hall for an entire day during an OFSTED inspection at Beechview School in High Wycombe, Bucks.
A panel heard that Mr Griffin’s behaviour at the school was called in to question by acting assistant head Beatriz Melero, who had been called in as a trouble-shooter to boost the ailing primary’s fortunes after the previous headteacher was absent on a long-term basis.
She told the hearing that Mr Griffin – who worked at the school for nine years – had been ‘unduly punitive’ when he put three children in detention and listed the reason as ‘fidgeting’.
Representing himself at a Teaching Agency conduct hearing held in Coventry, West Mids., Mr Griffin told a disciplinary panel that his conduct had been ‘appropriate’.
Presenting Officer Melinka Berridge said he had penned a letter to the school after complaints were made about his language towards children.
It read: “Persistent miscreants who act like delinquents can expect to be treated as such.
“If they don’t like being called idiots, fools, clowns, buffoons or any similar epithet, there is a very simple solution: don’t act like one.”
Mr Griffin later told the hearing he had only used the terms in reference to ‘the small minority who are disturbing the learning opportunities of everybody else.’
Mr Griffin said one allegation against him, that he shouted at a young boy and called him an ‘idiot’, omitted to mention that the lad had been ‘cavorting’ around his classroom for some time before he reprimanded him.
He said: “How do you describe that sort of behaviour without using that sort of language? There is no other way, is there?”
Mr Griffin faces two charges of serious misconduct towards staff and pupils between December 2007 and May 2008.
He is also accused of disregarding directions given to him by acting head Miss Melero, and for failing to follow the National Curriculum in his music lessons.
But Mr Griffin said it was “total rubbish” that his lessons did not adhere to the National Curriculum but he was “very pleased” to admit that he had not used Qualifications and Curriculums Authority (QCA) work schemes when planning lessons because they contained a mistake.
He said: “I made it quite clear that I never will follow the QCA schemes of work as they contain an error and I will not teach an error.
He went on to claim that work schemes he devised himself were superior to those created by the national body.
“My scheme of work is much better than the QCA scheme of work.
“My work supports the National Curriculum to levels that by itself the National Curriculum can’t reach.”
Mr Griffin admitted that he had played piano in the school hall when inspectors had been visiting the school, as he was angry that he had been asked not to come to work when they were present.
He said: “Surely it is a function of OFSTED to identify bad teaching as well as good.
“They should not have the decision made by the school management for them.
“I would have thought that I was entitled to have OFSTED see my work as much as anybody else in the school.
“I don’t see the fuss about my reaction to being told I couldn’t have my work inspected.”
Mr Griffin denied that the charges amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.
The hearing, set to last five days, continues.