Teacher who wrote anonymous blog about school says head was a ‘cheat’ in hearing

Rod Minchin, PA
·3-min read

A teacher who could be banned from the classroom after being caught writing an anonymous gossip blog about his school has accused his former headmaster of being a “cheat” and “dishonest”.

Alexander Price penned the “The Provoked Pedagogue” blog about students, parents and staff at Denbigh High School in Denbigh, North Wales.

In one article titled “The Problem With Prom”, Mr Price called the event “a shallow, vacuous affair, about nothing more than who has spent the most on looking nice”.

He described the evening as where anxious young teens are “shoehorned into gowns and paraded into towns like cattle”.

In other posts he made up nicknames for headteachers at the school, calling one “El Supremo” and another “Grima Wormtongue” after a character from Lord of the Rings.

The former design and technology teacher, who no longer works in the profession, is facing an Education Workforce Council (EWC) hearing in Cardiff accused of “unacceptable professional conduct” over the posts.

The hearing heard Mr Price wrote them as the school was being placed in special measures by education watchdog Estyn and saw headteacher Simeon Molloy stand down and replaced by assistant head Dr Paul Evans.

Giving evidence, Mr Price, who admits writing the blog but denies they amount to unacceptable professional conduct, said he had no intention of ever returning to the teaching profession.

“Teaching in Wales is in crisis; teaching in Denbigh High School was non-existent in any meaningful sense of the word, a fact borne out by its inability to meet even the basic standards of competence, as outlined by Estyn and its continued inability to get out of special measures,” he said.

“Denbigh High School is run in a shameful way which negatively impacts on the lives of children and their families in one of the poorest wards in the UK.

“The school is run by someone who is dishonest and prepared to game the system, rather than devoting the same energy into improving the quality of educational provision in the school.”

Mr Price told the hearing Dr Evans had been caught in an expose by the Daily Telegraph appearing to tip off teachers on the content of exam papers.

“This brought the profession into disrepute,” he said.

“Dr Evans treated Denbigh High School like his own personal fiefdom running roughshod over procedure and bullying those who did not comply with his methods.

“He makes no bones with manipulation and obfuscation to achieve his ends.”

Mr Price accused the school of having some of the “worst staff attrition rates in the UK”, a school roll in “freefall”.

He added: “Behaviour was horrendous and unsafe, drug use was rife.

“I hope this hearing shines a light on the disgraceful behaviour of others. I hope that this will shine further light on how poorly the children of Denbigh High School are being served.

“Is the EWC going to carry out his primary role of protecting the integrity of teaching in Wales or is it like Denbigh High School, going to seek to shoot the messenger?”

Presenting officer Ashanti-Jade Walton asked: “Do you accept that your behaviour has fallen short of the behaviour expected in the profession?”

Mr Price replied: “Yes, I probably do accept that.

“However, I would argue the profession needs a bloody good shake up because it is full of people who just want to go around – instead of doing the right thing by kids – feather their own nests, support their own careers, pat themselves on the back and live in a world of virtue.

“This process further confirms that to be the case.

“I’m done with processes like this, and people going round creating value judgments and tearing communities apart with their utter nonsense, lies and destroying people’s lives.

“The second somebody opens their mouth and speaks the truth, they are the person that gets shot down and sacked.”

The hearing continues.