Art head may be dismissed

25th July 2003 at 01:00
Laurence Richardson, principal teacher of art and design at Fraserburgh Academy, may be dismissed after claims that he doctored the design element of the Higher exam for 25 of his students.

He is facing an Aberdeenshire disciplinary hearing next month when pupils return, and is likely to face the full wrath of the authority. He has so far avoided suspension and is due to resume his head of department duties.

The unexpected development came before the end of last term after a colleague complained. The council immediately alerted the Scottish Qualifications Authority, which this week again reassured parents that the unusual event would not damage the exam prospects of the students when the results are released in two weeks.

In a letter, Tom Drake, SQA general manager, says: "When dealing with improper influences on work presented by candidates for national courses, SQA's policy is that no candidate should be adversely affected when they are not at fault. Assurances have been given to us that there was no candidate collusion in what may have happened to this work, which we are happy to accept.

"SQA's subject experts have now reviewed the Fraserburgh Academy design activity folios, which have been marked as work carried out by the candidates. Those marks will be reflected on the candidates' Scottish Qualification certificates to be issued on August 12."

Mr Drake confirms that the authority will work closely with the council and the school to make sure that "robust arrangements" are in place to ensure the integrity of future presentations.

"As happens in all malpractice investigations, arrangements will also be made to give suitable publicity to the lessons learned through this incident," he writes.

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