In Wales, Design teacher Richard Tremelling has been sacked. He was not fired for poor teaching or hitting on students or even habitual lateness. He was fired because he let two 15-year-old students go sledding after his class at Cefn Hengoed Community School in Swansea — failing to prepare a “risk assessment” and getting prior written approval. That’s right, the students asked if they could try out a sled that he brought into class as a design object. He said yes and now he is unemployed.
Tremelling brought in the sled in February 2009 as an example of “classic design.” The General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) went ballistic and found that he placed the students in danger by not having the activity reviewed and approved in advance. He insists that he did evaluate the risk of sledding on the school’s snow-covered hill, but the school governors insisted that he should have made the proposal in writing and received proper authority.
He notes that actually trying out the sled had an educational purpose in a design class — a sound argument in my view. He added “I did not go sledding on a cheap Asda £10 sledge. I went on a Scandinavian classic design sledge which has built-in safety features, and also a brake.”
The fact that an independent assessment later found “no significant risk” created by the exercise, the school still ruled that he must be fired.
The reprimand will remain on his record for two years and the school insists that “clearly the decision to dismiss Mr Tremelling was the right one given the circumstances and his disciplinary record.”
I am missing the clarity. It seems incredibly bureaucratic and draconian.