Suspended after fake exam results

21st November 2003 at 00:00
Computing teacher left pupils without qualifications, reports Irena Barker

An information technology teacher who failed to enter pupils for exams, then made up the results, has been suspended from teaching for 18 months.

The General Teaching Council of England found Peter Rice, 48, guilty of unacceptable professional conduct, but took into account his previously unblemished 20-year teaching record.

His failure to process Year 11 computer literacy and information technology exam entries led to two classes of pupils leaving school with no official IT qualifications.

Anthony Cuthbert, chairman of the GTCE panel, said his behaviour "fell far short of the standards of a teacher expected by other teachers, parents and pupils".

Mr Rice was appointed as ICT co-ordinator at Mount St Mary's Roman Catholic high school in Leeds in September 2000. A year later he was put in charge of two Y11 IT classes.

The pupils had completed much of the coursework in Y10 and records of their coursework and achievements were passed on to Mr Rice when he took over their lessons. However, by the end of the school year, Mr Rice failed to produce any results for his classes when asked to by senior staff.

In September 2002, Bernadette King, headteacher, became suspicious when above-average results were returned.

She said: "We asked Mr Rice for the carbon copies of the entry forms he had sent off, but he did not respond."

The school's exam officer approached the exam board, who said there had been no record of any entries from Mr Rice's classes, and that the results must have been fabricated.

Mrs King said: "This meant that none of the students in those classes received a qualification of which they were perfectly capable.

"We were aiming to become a specialist ICT school, and wanted every pupil to leave with some sort of IT qualification."

Mr Rice claimed that a change to the computer system at the 900-pupil school meant he was unable to obtain pupils' coursework.

However, Mrs King and Anthony Barter, deputy head, said copies had been made available to Mr Rice. The father of five said he felt under "tremendous pressure" to achieve results.

He was not present nor represented at the hearing last week, but in the letter to the GTCE. Mr Rice said: "I panicked and told a lie, and as you know a lie is sometimes very hard to undo."

He has the right to appeal.

GTC progress report Friday magazine 6

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