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Teacher altered pupils' KS1 tests

An experienced primary teacher who altered answers on test papers taken by seven-year-olds has been found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

Funmilayo Nejo, formerly of Keyworth primary school in Southwark, London, was ordered by England's General Teaching Council to retrain after admitting altering answers on key stage 1 tests.

Suspicion over Ms Nejo's conduct was raised by Carol Walters, her teaching assistant, after she saw her use a rubber on one pupil's test paper in May 2002.

Ms Susi Whittome, headteacher, told the committee that she then examined the papers and found evidence of alterations.

She said a pupil told her that Ms Nejo had rubbed out answers on his test paper after telling him he had made a mistake.

Council officials from Southwark looked over the test papers and found evidence of corrections with a pencil different from the ones used by the pupils.

They also found inconsistency in the answers on test papers. On other papers, in a section where pupils had to put a tick next to the correct answer, the ticks differed from those of the pupils.

Julie Evans, assessment co-ordinator for the council, conducted the review of the test papers.

She told the committee she concluded that 14 out of the 21 reading comprehension tests from the class of seven-year-olds showed evidence of adult intervention. These changes had led to five pupils being wrongly graded and the tests were therefore declared void by the authority.

Ms Nejo was suspended pending an investigation and dismissed from the 390-pupil school in July 2002.

She had been a teacher for more than 25 years and had worked at the multicultural inner-city school since 1994.

Ms Nejo, who is now working as a primary supply teacher, appeared at the disciplinary hearing in Birmingham last week but did not give evidence.

Through Andrea Chute, her legal representative she apologised to pupils and staff. Ms Chute said: "Ms Nejo recognises her actions were inappropriate and she is truly sorry. She recognises there must be no repeat of this behaviour."

The committee placed Ms Nejo under a conditional registration order banning her from the administration of public exams.

It was satisfied that she had shown insight into her actions and that the event was an isolated occurrence in an otherwise unblemished career.

She will be able to administer examinations once she has completed an appropriate GTC-approved retraining scheme by September 2006.

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