Mar 29 2007 By John Rowbotham
A TEENAGER car peted by her parents for poor maths results used a mobile phone to film the class she was in.
John Ogilvie pupil Nicola McPherson wanted to prove that she was being insufficiently challenged during lessons.
The 16-year-old, from Little Earnock, twice this month made short videos of pupils in the Intermediate 2 maths class.
The film shows pupils sitting on desks chatting while a teacher taps away at a computer.
A boy is also seen making a rude sign at the camera, and another is dancing.
And in other footage, there is a teenager with a post-it note stuck to his forehead playing a `who am I’ game with pals.
South Lanarkshire Council this week in sisted that the films “may not be a fair reflection on what takes place in the class over five 50 minute lessons a week”.
Filming other children and their teacher was unacceptable and an infringement of their rights, they add.
But Nicola’s father, gas engineer Alan McPherson, defended his daughter’s actions.
He said: “Earlier this month she came home with a report card which contained quite a few negative comments.
“She passed Standard Grade maths with a good mark but seemed to be going backwards.
“I had a go at her and told her that she needed to pull up her socks.
“A few days later I discovered that she had been withdrawn from the Intermediate 2 maths exam, which made me more angry be cause she wants to be a PE teacher and maths is one of the qualifications she is likely to need .”
Mr McPherson (41), who also has a 14-year-old son at the school, added: “Nicola showed me a film taken in the class in early March.
“I was surprised be cause the kids didn’t seem to be doing any thing and I asked her to shoot another film.
“Having viewed both pieces of footage, I would certainly say that they warrant an inquiry by the council into the way maths is taught at John Ogilvie.”
Nicola said: “I just didn’t understand the explanations given for some of the work.
“On some occasions we didn’t get the amount of work we should have done.
“And during one peri od earlier this month, three teachers were in the class chatting around the computer for most of the lesson. I didn’t have any work and we were just sitting around chatting.
“On another occasion this month, we had notes to copy from the board, but you couldn’t read them and everyone ended up sitting chat ting about pubs and res taurants in Hamilton.”
Mr McPherson and his wife, Rosaleen, have complained to the school about the decision to withdraw her from the maths exam.
They have spoken to the head teacher Anne Marie Fagan, but Mr McPherson said that in terview ended abruptly when he asked if the exchange could be recorded.
John Ogilvie was last inspected in Novem ber,2005, and at that time had a roll of 911.
In a report of the in spection, printed in March, 2006, the school was judged ‘good’, ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ in 15 of the 19 indicators used to measure the performance.
Inspectors found that “in almost all maths classes, pupils were well behaved and worked on tasks set”.
But the inspectors noted that pupils’ per formance at Higher maths was below or well below national averages in most years.
Performance at Inter mediate 2 maths had been declining in recent years and was now well below national aver ages.
A spokesman for the council said: “The school are fully committed to supporting all pupils with their course work and parents should raise any concerns they may have about achievement and at tainment with the head teacher.
“We have not had the opportunity to view the footage, however, it is our understanding that the clip lasts two minutes and may not be a fair reflection on what takes place in the class over five 50 minute les sons a week.
“We would also have to say filming other children and their teacher is unacceptable and an in fringement of their rights.
“Our policy is that mobile telephones should not be switched on or used in classrooms. We have a duty to protect children and staff.”