Top set 'told to copy work'

21st July 2006 at 01:00
Maths teacher accused of organising cheating to keep management post

A maths class was forced to re-do its GCSE coursework after a teacher allegedly submitted scripts in their names that had been done by other pupils.

Ionnis Markopoulos, who taught at King Edmund school, in Essex, was charged with four offences of unacceptable professional conduct at a hearing of England's General Teaching Council in Birmingham last week.

It was alleged that during the 2004-05 school year he submitted coursework to an exam board on behalf of a student knowing it had been done by someone else.

He had changed a name on a piece of coursework and photocopied coursework adding a different student's name so they could submit it as their own.

The hearing heard that he instructed students to copy maths coursework from a previous year so he could submit it as theirs.

Mr Markopoulos joined the 1,550-pupil school as a maths teacher in 2001. He was given the top set in 2004-05 and became acting head of the maths department in December 2004. He was given an opportunity to prove his capability in that role and if successful would have been given the position on a permanent basis.

In March 2005, another maths teacher handed out GCSE assignments to Mr Markopoulos's group to discuss with students where grades could be improved. One pupil said the work handed out was not their own, although it had their name on it.

Graham Abel, the headteacher, was informed and after meeting with Mr Markopoulos he suspended him pending a further investigation.

This revealed pieces of GCSE coursework from a previous year with names torn off at the top. Sue Nicholl, the deputy head, said: "He clearly admitted tampering with the coursework. He said he just wanted to get the best possible results for the school."

Mr Abel said: "Students expressed relief once the matter was in the open as it cleared their own conscience. This gave me grave concerns about Mr Markopoulos's conduct. He had failed to teach the top set maths class. They had the ability to complete the coursework themselves but were not taught properly.

"The pupils' learning and the reputation of the school was seriously jeopardised. The re-doing of coursework put a great strain on other subjects and caused unnecessary stress to the staff," he said.

Sheleen McCormack, presenting officer, said: "Mr Markopoulos's conduct fell short of the standard expected from a registered teacher."

Mr Markopoulos resigned on April 24, 2005. The case was adjourned and he will give evidence at a later date.

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