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GTC clears racy book row teacher

A teacher who was sacked after she wrote a racy novel featuring some of her pupils has said it is "wonderful news" that she will not have to face a hearing of the General Teaching Council (GTC).

Leonora Rustamova, 41 - known as Miss Rusty to her pupils at Calder High School, West Yorkshire - lost her job after her book detailed teenage fantasies, violence and a criminal drug den.

Her sacking from the school near Hebden Bridge prompted demonstrations by pupils and a campaign by parents to have her reinstated.

Miss Rustamova, who lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, said on Monday she had been told by the GTC she had no case to answer and the matter would not even have to go in front of a hearing.

She said: "It is fantastic. I feel marvellous. It's wonderful news. I was feeling very cynical about the justice system but this decision has made me feel very positive again. It's been three years that I've been fighting for this."

Last year Miss Rustamova took the school's governing body to an employment tribunal, claiming she was unfairly dismissed. The tribunal dismissed her claim on a 2-1 majority, despite the tribunal judge - who chaired the hearings - finding in her favour.

However she won an appeal against this decision and is now waiting for a rehearing of the employment tribunal by the original panel. "It's given me a lot of confidence now to face the tribunal again," she said.

The book - Stop! Don't Read This! - originally appeared on a self-publishing website by accident before it was removed. The story, which is peppered with expletives, names several teachers and features five Year 11 pupils - all real students and referred to as Miss Rusty's favourites. One pupil is referred to as fantasising and flirting with Mrs Rustamova.

The tribunal hearing heard how Miss Rustamova decided to write it as way of engaging with a group of challenging boys. "Stop! Don't read this: The Story" has now been published as a conventional book. Mrs Rustamova taught for more than 11 years before she lost her job in May 2009.

The GTC said it does not give details of individual cases unless they proceed to a full hearing.


From Belfast Telegraph