Doncaster head teacher is banned for altering Sats answers

Julie Beech
Julie Beech
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A PRIMARY school head teacher who admitted altering pupils’ answers in key stage two maths and spelling tests has been banned from the profession for at least two years.

Julie Beech was found to have altered scripts of eight pupils last year while head teacher at Sunnyfields Primary, in Doncaster.

A National College for Teaching and Leadership panel ruled that this was unacceptable professional conduct.

It said Ms Beech had admitted this herself, adding: “in her words, it amounts to misconduct of a serious nature that falls significantly short of the standards expected of a teacher. We agree with that admission.” It said that she had shown remorse, was highly regarded by colleagues and had a previously unblemished record. The ruling said she could apply for a prohibition order to be lifted after two years.

The panel’s finding, published today, said: “The teacher’s status as head teacher would have left her in no doubt that what she was doing was dishonest and would be viewed as such.”

She was found to have intentionally changed pupils’ answers in respect of five mental maths scripts and three spelling scripts “despite knowing that the scripts were meant to contain the pupils’ own unaided work.”

This came to light after the Standards and Testing Agency raised concerns over the fact that certain scripts appeared to have been altered, with the alterations forming an indentation on subsequent scripts.

It said that these concerns were investigated by the local authority and the teacher admitted that she was responsible.

The panel said of the decision to ban Ms Beech: “We believe that this is an appropriate and proportionate measure that is clearly required in this case in order to maintain public confidence in the profession and declare and uphold proper standards of conduct.

“The teacher’s actions were deliberate and dishonest and abused her position of trust as head teacher. On the basis that the teacher has an unblemished record in the profession until these proceedings, has demonstrated clear remorse, and was clearly highly regarded by senior professional colleagues, we recommend that the teacher should be allowed to apply for review of the prohibition order after two years.”