Banned: School leader who falsified attendance records

‘I'm an honest person doing something dishonest,’ says assistant head after colleague raised concerns about inaccuracies in register

bad teacher

An assistant headteacher has been banned from teaching for deliberately falsifying his school’s attendance records in order to make them “seem better than they were”.

Raymond Donnison, 27, said he was “an honest person doing something dishonest” after having altered records at Freebrough Academy, a secondary school in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire.

Changes were made to records between September 2017 and March 2018,  in some cases several months after the absence, a report by the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) reveals.  

TRA panel's findings

While some may have been genuine, others were false, a TRA panel concluded.  Multiple changes had been made at the same time to make it appear as if pupils had been in school.

One involved a pupil who had been on an unauthorised family holiday, to whose family the local education authority had already issued a fine.

Mr Donnison, who had worked at the school for four years, was the senior leadership link to the attendance team.

In March 2018, a colleague raised concerns with him regarding the inaccuracies, after which he reported himself to the headteacher and confessed to having altered attendance records. He was suspended pending investigation and later dismissed.

'Dishonest' actions

The TRA report notes how Mr Donnison had been “mindful of the safeguarding implications of making immediate changes to the attendance records, and found that these actions would be regarded by the standards of ordinary, decent people to be ‘dishonest’”.

The report states: “Mr Donnison admitted in his written statement to the panel that he was ‘an honest person doing something dishonest’.

“He also referred to ‘the shame of facing up to my dishonest actions’…He deliberately made changes to the attendance register in an attempt to make the school’s attendance figures seem better than they were.”

The TRA also notes: “Mr Donnison has admitted the facts of the allegations and that those facts amount to unacceptable professional conduct and/or conduct that may bring the [teaching] profession into disrepute.”

But it states: “The findings of misconduct are particularly serious as they include a finding of dishonesty and lack of integrity on the part of an assistant principal.”    

Mr Donnison has been banned from teaching indefinitely but may apply for the ban to be lifted in five years.

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