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Kindly invigilator faces the music

A MUSIC teacher who played the piano to help students during a GCSE exam has been banned from invigilating alone for two years.

Anna Clifford-Tait was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by England's General Teaching Council at a disciplinary hearing in Birmingham last week.

The committee heard that Mrs Clifford-Tait had broken rules by giving pupils a range of hints during exams last year at Chadwell Heath foundation school in Essex. These included playing the piano during an aural music exam to hint at an answer, gesturing to a poster on a wall to suggest another and tapping sections of pupils' exam sheets where she felt they needed to give fuller responses.

Mrs Clifford-Tait, who was not represented at the hearing, also admitted giving an answer to a pupil by accident. She said she felt this gave the student an unfair advantage, so revealed the answer to the other 11 pupils sitting the exam.

Examination rules state that a teacher who has taught a class cannot invigilate one of their exams, but Mrs Clifford-Tait was unaware of this.

A disciplinary meeting was called in June 2006 after a student told the school they had been given the answers.

Mrs Clifford-Tait, who resigned soon afterwards, said she felt "hugely ashamed" of her actions.

The GTC banned another teacher from involvement in exam administration for two years for emailing confidential exam questions to friends.

Lucy Parrett admitted unacceptable professional conduct after confessing to sending the "form and substance" of key stage 3 exam questions to six teachers at other schools from a Hotmail account while employed by Colne community school in Essex.

Mrs Parrett, who qualified as a teacher in 2003, had discovered the questions in a colleague's classroom and resigned after her action was discovered.

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