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Teacher accused of using insider information on exams

A teacher prepared revision lists for pupils' exams after receiving inside information from the SQA, a tribunal heard this week.

Sabrina Ferguson, 41, who had been a technical studies teacher at Lornshill Academy, in Alloa, is alleged to have prepared and distributed exam revision lists to the school's teaching staff that contained crucial information about the content of the impending exams in March 2010 after meeting an SQA appointee who was responsible for adjusting exams at various levels.

A senior education officer claimed Ms Ferguson had "prior knowledge of the examination paper prior to creating the revision list" for the 2010 SQA graphic communication exam papers at Standard grade General and Credit, Intermediate 2 and Higher levels.

Ms Ferguson, who denies the charges against her, appeared in person at a fitness to teach disciplinary hearing of the General Teaching Council for Scotland in Edinburgh this week.

The tribunal heard from just one witness, as the first day was beset with legal argument.

Allan Smithyman, an SQA vetter and learning community principal for Western Isles Council, told the hearing he was asked to compare the 2010 exam paper with the revision list prepared by Ms Ferguson.

The SQA was "very strict" about security of exam questions and the information could only have come from an SQA employee, he said.

Mr Smithyman had been alerted to possible wrongdoing by "the order and specificity of the questions" contained within the 2010 exam papers when they were compared to Ms Ferguson's revision list.

One question, where pupils were asked to draw a cross-section of a windscreen holder, appeared in a specific form in the revision lists.

"It would be almost impossible to predict a windscreen holder as part of an examination," he said.

The GTCS tribunal continues later this month.

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