Teachers spared ban over GCSE malpractice

Science teachers' 'excessive guidance' betrayed by discovery of post-it note

Mark Smulian


Two teachers who gave pupils too much guidance during controlled assessments have been spared bans from the profession after a professional conduct panel of the Teaching Regulation Agency noted pressure put on them by senior managers.

Dyal Thandi and Christopher Evans were science teachers at Ash Green School in Coventry.

They were found by the panel to have brought teaching into disrepute by having, in the 2015-16 academic year, provided or instructed others to give pupils excessive guidance, to amend their controlled assessments and to have told other teachers to amend the completed controlled assessments.

Mr Evans was responsible for co-ordinating Year 11 and Ms Thandi Year 10.

In July 2016, the OCR exam board told the school that malpractice may have occurred in a GCSE physics controlled assessment, practical skills in biology and various other science papers, as a post-it note was attached to one of the scripts, which instructed one of the candidates how to answer one of the questions. The headteacher investigated and Mr Evans was disciplined and later resigned.

The panel noted: “OCR found systematic malpractice across the department in the conduct of controlled assessments, required an action plan and provided staff training for those involved with controlled assessments.”

Pupils were provided with PowerPoint presentations “throughout each stage of the controlled assessments; research, planning and analysis and evaluation", and the panel said there were “alarming similarities between some student responses and the PowerPoint material”.

Other teachers called as witnesses told the panel that students who did not meet the target mark “were given feedback and instructed to amend the controlled assessments”.

The panel said that while neither teacher acted under duress it heard “evidence relating to the pressure from senior management downwards.

“In live evidence, witnesses commented on the ethos of the school, the pressure to achieve high grades and the implications of not doing so, although Mrs Thandi and Mr Evans did not explicitly refer to such pressure.”

It concluded neither was likely to offend again and that they had good records as teachers and consequently a prohibition order was not necessary.

This was agreed by Department for Education decision maker Dawn Dandy.

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Mark Smulian

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