Pressure drove head of science to cheat

17th June 2005 at 01:00
A former head of science at a Kent comprehensive who doctored students'

exam coursework because he felt under pressure to improve results has been found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

Edward Collins admitted leaving notes on the board before the AS-level biology assessment paper, sat under exam conditions, and typing up pupils'

notes for them.

But England's General Teaching Council heard that identical graphs and the same typographical error had appeared in all the papers he submitted to the Edexcel exam board last summer.

Mr Collins taught at the Community college, in Whitstable, which is near the bottom of the GCSE, AS-level and A-level league tables in Kent.

He told the GTC disciplinary hearing in Birmingham last week: "My brief was to get the results. Constant deadlines led me to be in an emotional state.

This AS-level deadline was the last straw."

The GTC imposed a conditional registration order which means before he can re-register, he must complete a professional development course for key stage 3 and 4 science. He must also be monitored by senior staff when he conducts exams for the next two years.

As part of the order Mr Collins will be barred from applying for a post as head of department for the next four years.

Allegations that he doctored pupils' work had first been investigated by the school and Kent county council.

Sarah Quantick, deputy head teacher at the 1,000-pupil school, said she had had no concerns about Mr Collins's ability as a teacher or head of department. But after inspecting the exam papers, she noticed similarities.

One child, who was a refugee, had used a higher level of English than expected in his answers.

When she told Mr Collins about her findings he said: "I'm in deep shit.

I've had it, haven't I?"

Mr Collins admitted he had betrayed the students' trust: "I had minimal experience and it was my first appointment with such responsibility. I very quickly found myself short of time, leaving for work at 7.30am and returning at 9pm. It created pressures, being part of a newly-married couple."

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