The blundering teacher who taught his students the wrong HSC maths course was in his first year of teaching maths, it has been revealed.
Paul Withers was working as a permanent casual teacher at Coonamble High School in the central western plains when he taught the wrong mathematics course to five Year 11 students and two Year 12 students for seven months.
Withers was sacked by education heads on Wednesday after complaints from the students’ families flooded in.
It has since emerged that Withers only became qualified to teach maths last year.
Paul Withers was working as a permanent casual teacher at Coonamble High School in the central western plains when he taught the wrong mathematics course to five Year 11 students and two Year 12 students
Withers’ teaching accreditation could also be withdrawn after he taught the students General Mathematics 1 instead of General Mathematics 2 – which put the students HSC testing in jeopardy.
The Coonamble High School teacher reportedly only gained his accreditation to teach mathematics in 2016, according to a post he made on social media.
‘Just received approval to teach Mathematics 7-12… a childhood dream aspiration fulfilled,’ he said according to The Daily Telegraph.
Withers boasted he was a ‘fully fledged mathematics teacher 7-12’.
Withers could also have his NSW teaching accreditation withdrawn after he taught the students General Mathematics 1 instead of General Mathematics 2
His position at Coonamble High School was Mr Withers’ first as a maths teacher.
Year 12 students Amber Baker and Kait O’Meagher were the victims of Withers’ teaching blunder.
Amber said she wanted to study nursing at university while Kait wanted to study information technology. Both aimed for good ATAR results.
The NSW Education Standards Authority was informed of the situation when the school’s principal discovered the mistake.
The principal was at the school just 14 weeks when they realised.
Year 12 students Amber Baker (pictured) and Kait O’Meagher were the victims of Withers’ teaching blunder
Amber said she wanted to study nursing at university while Kait O’Meagher (pictured) wanted to study information technology. Both girls aimed for good ATAR results
Withers was at the centre of a student complaint in 2016 when he posted a private conversation on his Facebook page, according to the publication.
‘How to answer an antagonistic, belligerent, cantankerous and insulting teenage student. ‘Many people go through life emotionally. At some stage, a few people stop and begin to go through life intelligently. That’s what we do here in class. Personality has got nothing to do with going through life intelligently. Do you get me?” he said.
”Exactly, and that’s why I have no emotional investment in what you are doing.’
The conversation was reportedly with a female student in his Year 11 biology class.
Withers was at the centre of a student complaint in 2016 when he posted a private conversation on his Facebook page
Education Minister Rob Stokes is ‘furious’ that seven students at Coonamble High School have been taught the incorrect maths course
The school’s principal and a representative from the Department of Education met on Tuesday night to discuss a solution and reportedly advised students to do their best in the upcoming final exams.
Education Minister Rob Stokes said he was ‘furious’ seven students at Coonamble High School were reportedly taught General Mathematics 2 after signing up for General Mathematics 1.
The General Mathematics 1 exam counts towards a student’s ATAR and is examined during the HSC in September, but General Mathematics 2 is not.
The mistake meant two Year 12 students had just eight weeks to cram for the HSC exam, according to the ABC.
Students at Coonamble High School have reportedly been taught the incorrect maths lessons
The ‘utterly negligent’ mistake was not exposed until a distraught parent called The Ray Hadley Morning Show to complain about the ‘gross oversight’.
Families of the affected students met with faculty, the area education director and the school principal on Wednesday.
The results from the Year 11 do not directly affect a student’s HSC or ATAR mark but the lessons provide a necessary foundation for the final year of schooling, AAP reported.
Pupils were reportedly advised by the school to study before and after class, and during holidays, for the next two months to catch up – which Minister Stokes slammed as ‘not acceptable’.
Rob Stokes has sent a representative of the Education Standards Authority to visit the school
‘Another solution offered was that if they do not do well this year they can do it again next year — that’s clearly a laughable solution,’ he told Radio 2GB.
Mr Stokes said he instructed a representative of the Education Standards Authority to visit Coonamble High School and find a solution to ensure the students were not disadvantaged.
Education Secretary Mark Scott said he would ensure the students received a ‘fair outcome’.
‘I’ve made it clear that I want disciplinary matters looked into,’ he added.
Seven pupils taught the wrong maths were reportedly advised to study outside of class time
‘My heart goes out to those students and their parents, I am angry on their behalf,’ Minister Stokes said.
He acknowledged that the seven students caught up in the wrong class were failed by the education system, and says that it needs to be made up to them.
‘Through some oversight they are not being taught what they are about to be examined on,’ Mr Stokes said. ‘If this was my child I would be furious.’
Daily Mail Australia reached out to Coonamble High School for comment.