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Aberdeen teacher could be struck off over claims they edited pupils’ coursework

A teacher at Oldmachar Academy, Aberdeen, could be struck off amid claims they edited students' work.
A teacher at Oldmachar Academy, Aberdeen, could be struck off after he admitted he edited students' work.

An Aberdeen teacher could be struck off amid claims they edited pupils’ work before sending it to examiners.

Education regulator, The General Teaching Council For Scotland (GTCS), is due to meet and discuss the allegations next week.

The body has accused the unnamed educator, who was working at Oldmachar Academy, of “lacking integrity” with their conduct.

The teacher involved was leading media classes at the National 5 and Higher levels during the 2017-18 academic year.

But they have been accused of failing to ensure the work sent to the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) for external marking was all the candidates’ own.

After considering the manuscripts, the exam board sent back 20 pupils’ assignments for “suspected centre malpractice”.

The GTCS has accused the teacher of editing the work before submission, in breach of SQA guidelines.

As a result, it said their conduct was “dishonest”.

Following an investigation into the matter, a GTCS panel will consider the evidence and potential next steps at a virtual hearing next week.

This will firstly decide whether it finds the allegations proved and if the educator’s fitness to teach is impaired.

If the Aberdeen teacher is found unfit to practice, they will consider sanctions which could result in them being struck off.

Other options include a reprimand and the necessity to undertake further training or regular meetings with senior managers to address their progress.

Aberdeen councillor Jackie Dunbar, who is standing for the Scottish Parliament seat of Aberdeen Donside in May’s election, said: “This is clearly a very serious incident and it’s right that it’s being properly investigated.

“Pupils, parents and teaching staff will want this to looked into and I hope this matter can be concluded as soon as possible.”

Aberdeen City Council declined to comment, while an SQA spokesman said: “SQA has a duty, in the interests of fairness and equity for all candidates, to maintain the integrity and standards of our qualifications.

“Any kind of malpractice is totally unacceptable.”

Last year issues arose regarding grades for students across the country, brought on by the pandemic.

The SQA implemented a moderation process which combined teachers’ estimated marks with schools’ historical performance.

But critics said it resulted in a “postcode lottery” with grades being changed unreasonably, leading to the scheme being abandoned.

Yesterday Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie called for Education Scotland to be split up and create “healthy tension” for the sector to thrive.

He said combining the inspection and policy arms of the body have left it “too cosy” and “far too comfortable”.

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