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Banned: Head of history who altered coursework

Pupils ‘shocked and upset’ at changes to their work which had been ‘significantly re-written,’ panel told.

history teacher altered coursework

Pupils ‘shocked and upset’ at changes to their work which had been ‘significantly re-written,’ panel told.

A history teacher has been banned from the classroom after she was found to have altered her students’ A-level coursework.

Mrs Bridget Bainbridge, 46, who was head of history at Haileybury Turnford school, in Hertfordshire, was described as a “creative” teacher who would often dress up as historical characters for her pupils, a teacher conduct panel heard.  

But two of her A Level students were “shocked and upset” upon receiving back their coursework when they found “it was not the work they handed in.”

The panel, sitting at the Teaching Regulation Agency, in Coventry, heard evidence from Mrs Bainbridge’s line manager, the head of humanities, who said the students were “distraught.”

One student, in a written statement, said that after handing in the coursework, she approached Mrs Bainbridge to suggest adding some material to improve the essay but was told by her that it “was sorted”.

The associate principal at the school told the panel that the coursework had been “significantly rewritten.”

Mrs Bainbridge said she had made alterations in order to create “exemplar” work which could help with revision for exam papers that students were yet to take, among other reasons.

However the panel noted that the coursework topic was not related to exams, and that guidelines stated that schools should use exemplar material provided by the exam awarding body.

Mrs Bainbridge also said she had created exemplar work to help her understand the mark scheme and that her actions were also down to miscommunication with her colleagues.

Following the submission of the coursework, in April 2016, Mrs Bainbridge moved to another school, the panel heard. Giving evidence, her new headteacher said: “She has a passion for history and I have seen nothing but someone who is a really good and really effective practitioner.

"When you see her operating, she has good rapport with children and young people and is pivotal in helping children.”

However panel decision maker Alan Meyrick said in his report she was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute. 

He said: “The panel has found that the offence of serious dishonesty is relevant as the panel considered that public trust in the teaching profession and examination system must be maintained. Moreover, the impact on the students and the reputation of the school was considered.”

Mrs Bainbridge was found guilty of altering A-level history coursework of one or more students before submission for internal moderation, and also of a second allegation that this conduct was dishonest in that she submitted the coursework as if it were the students’ own work.

She was banned from teaching indefinitely, but may apply for the ban to be lifted after two years.


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