History teacher struck off after sharing confidential exam information with pupils at Yorkshire school

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A HISTORY TEACHER has been banned from the profession after she passed on confidential information she obtained from an exam board to colleagues and pupils at a Yorkshire school as they prepared for GCSEs.

A disciplinary panel found Diana Illingworth, 51, guilty of professional misconduct for her actions at Easingwold School and Sixth form near York which resulted in an exam board refusing to mark pupils’ work.

The National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) panel said she had produced a document with the likely exam content for the 2015 history GCSE paper based on information she obtained from work for the AQA exam board. She shared this with three other teachers and based a revision session with pupils on it.

She was later suspended from her role with AQA and the exam board refused to mark the history papers for this school. Instead they carried out a calculation to award grades which resulted in 47 of 66 pupils getting a worse grade than predicted.

However the NCTL did not find an allegation that she had acted dishonestly to be proven. It said: “Ms Illingworth clearly made a significant error in judgement, however the panel did not think that...she realised that what she had was doing was dishonest.”

It said that she produced the document based on confidential material “at the last minute”. And it said this happened during a stressful period in which the history exam was brought forward by a month. It accepted her evidence that she “totally panicked” as she had nothing planning for a revision day.

The panel did not recommend that Ms Illingworth be banned as they felt this would be disproportionate. However making a decision on behalf of Education Secretary, the NCTL’s head of teacher misconduct Jayne Millions imposed an indefinite teaching ban. Ms Illingworth can apply for it to be removed after two years. Ms Millions said: “Ms Illingworth’s actions, and in particular, the improper assistance given, the 2014 cohort of history GCSE pupils were worse off.

She added: “Ms Illingworth breached the regard for confidentiality and the need to safeguard pupils’ well-being...For these reasons, I have decided that prohibition is both appropriate and proportionate in this case.”