Banned: Teacher who gave out exam questions in advance

The biology teacher was found to have shown A Level students questions included in their exam paper

Claudia Civinini

banned teacher

A teacher who gave his pupils A Level exam questions in advance and provided feedback on their answers has been banned from the profession.

Philip Short was employed as a science teacher and was in charge of the biology examinations at Chadwell Heath Academy from September 2005 after starting his teaching career in 1978.

He was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by a panel of the Teaching Regulation Agency.

The report says that Mr Short denies all allegations, and that the hearing was conducted in his absence.

But the panel, which also heard oral evidence from a representative of OCR and two pupils as part of the investigation, found a number of allegations against him were proven.

Mr Short’s case started when the exam board OCR was informed of suspected malpractice at the academy where he was employed.

On 11 June 2018, a headteacher at another school told OCR that one of their pupils had been sent a photo of a question that had then appeared in the biology paper.

That pupil said they had received the photo from a pupil at Chadwell Heath Academy who said his teacher had given out some predicted questions that day.

According to OCR, the papers were delivered to the academy on 15 May 2018, for the examinations to be held on 7 June 2018 and 11 June 2018.

An investigation started and on 19 June 2018 Mr Short was suspended, before resigning a week later.

According to the report, the panel noted that a number of witness statements provided by pupils confirmed they had seen three questions from biology papers prior to the examinations.

One pupil stated: “These questions were given to each individual in the biology class by Mr Short a few weeks prior to the examinations.”

Pupils also confirmed that they worked through those questions in class with Mr Short, who provided solutions and feedback.

A pupil said: “We were allowed to discuss the questions with other peers before he went through them. These revision sessions lasted for roughly 2 – 3 lessons.”

A compliance manager at OCR gave evidence that the questions had not previously appeared in any earlier OCR examination papers.

While the panel was convinced that Mr Short had provided questions to pupils in advance that he knew – or ought to have known – would appear on the examination, a mystery remained as to whether the package containing the examination papers had been opened in advance, and by whom.

The report notes: “The panel considered this to be a failing of the investigation, as interviewing the invigilators of the examination and the assistant examinations officer would have been obvious lines of enquiry.”

Although the panel specifies that there was no evidence of any personal gain to Mr Short, it maintains that he should have known that his actions were dishonest.

The report reads: "Given his training and experience as an examinations officer, and his understanding of the rules around examinations, he must have known that in doing so, he was providing his pupils with an unfair advantage over other pupils who would not have seen the questions in advance.

“The panel noted that during the course of his interview with compliance officers of OCR, he was very clear as to what was cheating and what was not. Therefore the panel’s view is that he would have known that his actions were dishonest.”

He will be able to apply for the ban to be lifted in five years.

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Claudia Civinini

Claudia Civinini

Find me on Twitter @claudiacivinini

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