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.
16 thoughts on “Teacher Fired After Allowing Students To Sled After Class”
What and they let us play at the school farm…..
Bruce in Jersey,
“Due process is a wonderful thing, but it’s an expensive substitute for common sense.”
You sure got that right. A little common sense goes a long way, but despite its seeming rarity, costs little.
Bruce in Jersey,
Thanks for the follow-up
A happy ending, sort of: the General Teaching Council for Wales has overturned the firing of teacher Richard Tremelling. The story here:
The council ruled that a reprimand was appropriate, in part because it found the teacher had ignored an explicit order from the headmaster not to allow students to sled on the hill behind the school.
But it’s not all good news. The incident occurred in February 2009. The teacher was dismissed in January 2010. It took another year for the hearing to conclude. Reportedly the process generated 800 pages of paperwork. Due process is a wonderful thing, but it’s an expensive substitute for common sense.
Where is that journal? I have it somewhere; it was mailed to me from AAAS, when first published, as part of my membership…
“On Being Sane in Insane Places,” by David Rosenhan, in “Science,” Volume 179 (January, 1973), pages 250-258.
Rosenhan ends with:
“Their perceptions and behaviors were controlled by the situation, rather than being motivated by a malicious disposition. In a more benign environment, one that was less attached to global diagnosis, their behaviors and judgments might have been more benign and effective.”
Welcome to the Isle of……..
The school claims Mr. Tremelling violated a school policy designed to protect the system and, maybe, the students, by not seeking written permission for sled use.
Given that an independent assessment later found “no significant risk” created by the exercise, it would seem reasonable that the system reprimand him for violating its “seek permission” policy by inserting a letter into his file noting same thus ending the matter.
” … the school insists that “clearly the decision to dismiss Mr Tremelling was the right one given the circumstances and his disciplinary record.” Is the school hinting that Mr. Tremelling is a disciplinary problem with other infractions on his record?
I hope he has competent representation for the school should be challenged on this matter
I love the Paul Simon link. Simon and his sometimes partner, Garfunkel are favorites of mine.
Buddha, I want to echo your response to Prof. Turley. There is no logic in the school boards knee jerk response to this situation. Another example of why my wife is looking to retire from teaching in the next few years.
All those years I went sledding as a kid…
Standing up… racing w/ my friends… riding 2 & 3 on ONE sled…
I was in grave danger?
Who can I sue?
Well, you know the Welsh. Just ask any Englishman.
Bush doesn’t need it to start his war in Iraq, I say Richard doesn’t need it to let two students slide a sled…
’tis a slippery slope on which we stand.
Especially when you work for a school district or any other operation run by bureaucrats.
A slippery slope indeed!
“none to be”
*sigh* cursed decaff . . .
“I am missing the clarity.”
No, you’re not. There is none to found here. This was blindly reactionary and foolish.
“It seems incredibly bureaucratic and draconian.”
Welcome to the world of education administrators and governors. Whether in the USA or Europe, a larger group of incompetent, self-important douchebags you would be challenged to find.
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