An Aberdeen teacher’s job hangs in the balance after a professional standards tribunal heard his actions had a “devastating” impact on pupils.
Former Oldmacher Academy teacher, Scott Brown, handed in fraudulent assignments to the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and admitted making hundreds of alterations to student 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 – with four considered identical and two which had identical sections.
Up to 22 student’s results were impacted by Mr Browns actions.
Education regulator, The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), accused Mr Brown of conduct that was “dishonest” and “lacking integrity”.
He faced a tribunal panel of GTCS representatives yesterday afternoon to plead his case.
Mr Brown, now an English teacher at independent Albyn School, claimed he was “overworked” due to running several classes and was suffering from mental health challenges at the time.
He said he “panicked” and was “scared of the outcome” as it began to dawn on him that pupils had run out of time to complete vital assignments.
It resulted in Mr Brown making “a serious error of judgement” in choosing to make hundreds of changes to student’s work online, the tribunal heard.
He added: “I take full responsibility for my actions and understand that the consequences have come about by my actions alone, when I was suspended from working with Aberdeen City Council I was in shock, I was distraught and so ashamed.
“When I sat down to edit pupil’s work, I knew I was in the wrong and I knew there would be consequences – it kills me.
“If I had simply put up my hand and said I was struggling with this course we would not be here today.”
However, it was revealed yesterday that when initially confronted by senior teachers about the issues with assignments, Mr Brown had lied and claimed students had been copying each other in their own time.
He admitted being “horrified” by his actions, adding that it took “a long time” to come to terms with the “reality” of what he had done.
Asked about his motivation to changing the assignments, he added: “Looking back at my actions, it was to save myself, though I told myself at the time it was to help the students.”
Mr Brown’s conduct was questioned by a panel that included legal assessors, presenting officers and teaching union officials.
David Starbuck Acting Head of Albyn School said: “Albyn School has robust processes in place to ensure the highest standards of education and professional standards.
“Mr Brown has satisfied the school in that he has learned from this serious error of judgement at an earlier point in his career and has developed into a truly excellent teacher respected by his colleagues and students.”
The tribunal continues.