A cheating Aberdeen teacher could be struck off for two years after watchdogs suggested his behaviour warranted a “significant” sanction.
Former Oldmachar Academy teacher, Scott Brown, turned in doctored assignments to the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and said youngsters must have been “copying each other” when he was caught out.
A tribunal on Thursday decided that his fitness to teach had been “impaired”.
Mr Brown, who now teaches at Aberdeen’s private Albyn School, admitted making hundreds of alterations to media coursework during the 2017-18 academic year.
The SQA returned 16 similar assignments that were sent in for marking at the National 5 and Higher levels – four of which were identical and with others having identical sections.
Mr Brown’s decision to alter assessment work impacted the results of 22 students.
A General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) panel will now consider his punishment – and the shamed educator could be removed from the teaching register for up to two years.
Solicitor Sarah Donnachie, who acted as presenting officer for the GTCS, accused Mr Brown of a “very serious level of dishonesty” and voiced concern that a reprimand may not act as “sufficient warning” to others within the profession.
She said: “This allegation is a very serious one, the teacher has admitted to dishonest conduct in submitting evidence, and falsified pupil work through the SQA.
“Mr Brown’s explanation of his conduct has changed over time. His first reaction was to deny and to say the blame lay not with him.
“A significant sanction should be imposed in order to adequately address the public’s concern with having a registered teacher continue to work with such a conviction.”
When initially confronted by senior teachers about the issues with assignments, Mr Brown had lied to bosses and claimed students had been copying each other in their own time.
He said that it had taken a “long time” to come to terms with what he had done.
Mr Brown’s legal representative, Claire Rafferty, called for a reprimand for her client, arguing that he had undertaken training behavioural courses to change his behaviour.
She said: “A reprimand would uphold the confidence in the profession and send a signal to the profession that the GTCS have recognised the seriousness of the misconduct.
“The order would be viewable to members of the public and they’d be aware of the reprimand on Mr Brown’s registration – it would act as a deterrent upon other registrants.
“The matter represents an isolated event and there has been no repetition since the incident occurred.
“Evidence have been provided of an otherwise good character and teaching history of Mr Brown.”
Details of the sanction imposed by the GTCS will be published online in the coming weeks.
Earlier this week, bosses and colleagues at his new school said they were aware of the matter when they took Mr Brown on – and pleaded for him to keep his job.
Louise Webster, the head of English at Albyn, said she trusts him as a member of staff “without reservation”.
Mrs Webster said: “He is making every effort to prove that he is worthy of the trust that people place in him.”
David Starbuck, acting head of Albyn School, last night said: “We respect the GTCS process and outcome of the hearing today which states that Mr Brown has been found impaired.
“While this is likely to lead to a reprimand or sanction, we feel it would not be appropriate to comment further until the outcome is confirmed.”