Head who falsified Sats papers is struck off

The headteacher of a Merseyside primary tried to deflect blame on to colleagues when the matter was investigated, NCTL panel concludes

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A headteacher who changed pupils’ Sats papers and then blamed other members of staff has been banned from teaching indefinitely.

Paul Prescott, 41, was headteacher of Brookdale Primary School, in Greasby, Merseyside, when he falsified the test papers of some Year 6 pupils in May 2015.

Mr Prescott denied amending the completed key stage 2 mental maths Sats scripts and repeatedly placed blame upon other members of staff at the school for the alterations, a report published today states.

But a professional conduct panel of the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) found him guilty of making changes to the scripts with the intention of improving marks.

He also failed to ensure that the completed exam papers were not left alone with an individual on their own before they were packaged and sealed, ready for dispatch and marking.

Mr Prescott, who had been head at the school for nearly three years, invigilated the exam in the school hall and then took the completed papers to his office.

In his witness statement, Mr Prescott said that, in his office, he sorted the papers into alphabetical order and sealed them in a plastic bag, and that he then locked them in an electrical cupboard by his office that was used for secure storage.

'No remorse'

But a few months later, the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) undertook a random forensic review of the papers and found evidence that amendments had been made to the papers after the exam ended.

The school undertook an investigation into the allegation that Mr Prescott had amended the papers and the head was subsequently dismissed.

The NCTL panel concluded that Mr Prescott had shown “no insight or remorse into the impact of his actions” upon the pupils who were affected, the staff blamed and the school as a whole.

The maladministration had an adverse impact on the pupils whose results had been amended, as the STA annulled their result for the exam so that they did not receive an overall level for mathematics.

“This would have been upsetting for them, after their hard work in preparation for the mathematics exams that year," the panel concluded.

"Furthermore, it would have meant that the secondary schools at which those pupils subsequently enrolled would not have been able to use the result to gauge the pupils’ ability when commencing key stage 3.”

It is understood that Mr Prescott previously had a good professional history and was a “well-liked role model” at the school before the maladministration.

The panel banned him from teaching indefinitely and decided that he will not be entitled to apply for restoration of his eligibility to teach.

Other NCTL reports released today found that: 

  • Teacher Andrew Spencer sold wood belonging to Newton Abbot College in Devon for £500 in August last year. But he told the college the sale price was £100 and he also charged the college £30 expenses for selling the wood. A prohibition order was not brought against Mr Spencer for this matter.
  • Catherine Newson, who was an executive head, allowed teenagers to have an unsupervised sleepover at Newbrough CE Primary School in Northumberland in May last year. One of the children had consumed alcohol on the school's grounds, the panel heard. A prohibition order was not brought against Ms Newson for this matter.


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