Response to Corporation statement on David Muritu’s dismissal

Anyone who has seen the press will have seen the statement released by the Corporation, which was also taken around the college by Senior Management in specially arranged briefings.

The statement begins as follows:

“David Muritu was dismissed for his consistent failure to carry out the fundamental part of the job as a lecturer in the Maths Department, which is to ensure that students fulfill their potential and achieve their expected levels of attainment.

The college had provided intensive support in various ways over a period of three years, engaging consultant and subject specialists. However, David Muritu had failed to make any improvement in student attainment, and indeed the pass rate declined further over the period.”

What this does not outline is that

a) They are focusing specifically on AS results, with no account of high performance in A2

b) The consultants at points contradicted one another, and their advice was not followed through fully by management (e.g. one Consultant highlighted the need for more staff, and recommended that a specialist Maths manager was needed for the department, which the College recruited and retained for all of a few weeks!)

The statement goes on:

“One student group which he highlighted in support of his case turned out to show that from 14 students 10 failed to pass, with all but one student attaining a pass at least one or two grades lower compared to their grades in other subjects.”

This is disingenuous as it implies he brought up the group as a sign of his success! He highlighted it as a statistical outlier where performance was much lower than the rest of his groups (thus bringing down the whole mean disproportionately – basic Maths). The point he made was that the students within this group achieved low grades elsewhere, which they did.

The statement continues:

“At the appeal, David Muritu claimed that his pass rates were above the national average. This claim was unfounded and the reverse was true.

For example, in 2012 his AS performance was 19 per cent below the national average. In addition, over the last three years his AS pass rates were generally some 15 per cent below the average pass rates across the college.”

The challenge which Dave made was on his Success rates (separate from Pass rates) which are above national average. The figure being used again focuses exclusively on AS – if we are picking out examples, his A2 set in 2012 achieved 100% pass rate with 50% achieving As and Bs. If the issue is that his results are 15% below College average then 49% OF STAFF ARE NOW SACKABLE AT ANY ONE TIME – THAT’S WHAT AN AVERAGE IS! (basic Maths – again.)

The statement then goes on:

“The college is patient and understanding in improving lecturers’ performance in accordance with good employment practice. Indeed, with Mr Muritu the College gave him another chance to prove himself after he had originally failed probation in 2005 by not obtaining the required Certificate in Education qualification within the requisite period.”

It speaks volumes that the Corporation are going back to probation and an administrative issue to try and show evidence of support. Where is the comment on the staffing issues? Where is the comment on students being roomed together or teachers taking different classes at the same time? We asked a Senior Manager about this yesterday and were told that this is not the situation – THIS TERM!

The statement concludes:

“It also put in place support mechanisms to help him improve student grades in recent years. Unfortunately, during this period the pass rates have been consistently and significantly below average College and national rates, which resulted in students not attaining grades which their potential deserved. It was for this reason alone that David Muritu was dismissed.”

There was, at one point, an individual action plan for Dave (though not the following of official competency procedure). This was abandoned, by management, when they needed him to provide hours of weekly cover during long term sickness over an extended period. Which he did, without complaint, because as lecturers we have good faith in Managers that when we are asked to do these things the intention of those asking us is to work towards long term improvement for student conditions and that it is temporary, not that we will be scapegoated later down the line.

The pass rates for the department are below College average – LIKE 49% of COLLEGE PASS RATES (basic Maths again). The pass rates for the department are below national average for AS and there has been absolutely no comment on or attempt to justify why decisions have been taken way above the level of teaching staff not to fund or staff a department where students were being failed by the Corporation.

It is interesting that the statement finishes with the comment that being below College and National average are the “reason alone” for Dave’s dismissal, because

1) Another person in the department with significantly lower results has not been disciplined (so how can it be that reason alone? We don’t believe this person should be disciplined either, but there is no logic in the decision)

2) As stated above, 49% of teaching staff within the College and nationally are below average in terms of the results associated with them.

Either David has been sacked for a reason other than results, which is not what has been said in this statement or the official dismissal, meaning the entire dismissal has been an act of deception, or 49% of staff are dismissable at any one time. Which is it?


One comment

  1. Kirstie Paton · · Reply

    What is most disgraceful in the college’s statement is the idea that students are just statistics. Behind all these numbers are real people with real needs. This is our first consideration as teachers.

    We don’t see grades and numbers. We see bright young minds and and a desire to learn.We also see students who lack confidence or who see themselves as failures. We don’t give up on them. We don’t turn them away. We teach everyone regardless of gender, class, ethncity or ability. Bate and his cronies would have us turn young people away.That is why they must be fought.

    We want our students to reach their potential. But what about the students who are below average? As the statement so clearly puts it, every average is just that. There are some below and some above. If there is an average height are we now in the business of trying literally to stretch all those below the average to the average? All this does is raise the average. There will still be some who are taller and smaller than this new average.

    The only conclusion we can draw is that Keith Bate doesn’t want ‘below average’ students in the College. He wants to punish teachers like Dave, his maths colleagues and the rest of us who believe that every young person has a right to education no matter where they are in the ‘average’.

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