Teacher sacked while on sick leave

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An art teacher was sacked after going on sick leave when one of his lessons was deemed “inadequate”, an employment tribunal heard.

During a spot check by senior staff in a lesson, students arrived late and were unchallenged and did not appear to know what they were doing.

The teacher, described as having an “artistic temperament”, also missed deadlines for submitting pupils’ work records and spied on a newly-qualified teacher through a peephole.

John Beardshall, who is in his 50s, claimed he faced a “tirade of criticism” following the snap inspection of his class at Brinsworth Comprehensive School, Rotherham, by former headteacher Mike Gray, who has since retired, and deputy John Naylor.

The teacher was signed off work with stress, anxiety and depression days after claiming he suffered “psychiatric injury” following feedback from the unannounced class visit in February 2008.

He was eventually sacked in May 2009.

Mr Beardshall is claiming unfair dismissal and discrimination on grounds of disability and trade union activities. He did not appear at the Sheffield hearing on grounds of illness but it went ahead in his absence.

In his witness statement to the tribunal, Mr Beardshall, from Barnsley, claimed he was targeted after unannounced observed lessons were introduced at the school following an inspection by Ofsted.

He claimed the feedback he got from the lesson was an “absolute travesty” which amounted to “gross victimisation”.

But Mr Gray told the tribunal: “I would have expected a higher level of competence.” However he said there was no barrage of criticism, and any comments of “inadequate” related to the lesson and not the teacher, said Mr Gray.

The panel reserved its judgment to a later date.