Reprimand for teacher who discussed exam with pupils

A teacher who discussed an exam with her pupils allowing them to note down ‘tricky’ questions will remain in the profession

Emma Seith

Scottish Conservatives have called for the National 4 qualification to be reformed

A teacher who admitted providing access to an exam and discussing its contents with pupils – including allowing them to take note of questions that “could be tricky” and providing them with a formula that could be used during the assessment – has avoided being barred from the profession.

Sandra Beaton – a computing and business studies teacher in Glasgow – admitted to dishonest conduct that lacked integrity when, in March 2017, she failed to follow Scottish Qualifications Authority assessment procedures in the conduct of the National 5 administration exam and provided assistance to her pupils.

Ms Beaton’s actions resulted in the pupils, who were sitting the National 5 administration and IT course assignment at Notre Dame High, which accounts for 100 per cent of their mark, having their work regraded.

'Remediable shortfalls'

However, a General Teaching Council for Scotland fitness-to-teach panel decided that while the conduct was “very serious...the shortfalls were remediable”. The panel also noted “the teacher’s 27-year career prior to the allegations” and that there was “no pattern of behaviour of the type in the allegations”.

The presenting officer, however, did highlight that at the teacher’s new school, Holyrood Secondary, where she had been moved after the incident by Glasgow City Council, a manager had seen a question to be posed in a progress test noted in advance in a pupil’s jotter. The principal teacher’s view was “that only key words of areas to be covered should have been highlighted to pupils in advance”.

The panel, however, was “not satisfied that the incident at her new school in relation to a progress test...was repetition of the conduct”.

It considered Ms Beaton’s remorse to be genuine; her personal circumstances at the time to have been difficult; and that now she worked in an environment where she had “better relationships with her line managers”.

Ultimately, the panel ordered that a reprimand be recorded in the register against Ms Beaton’s name for a period of two years, the maximum duration available.

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