Notre Dame teacher helped pupils cheat

Woman rapped over her con­duct dur­ing the Na­tional 5 exam

Evening Times - - NEWS - BY JACK AITCHISON

ATEACHER at Scot­land’s last state-funded all-girls school has ad­mit­ted help­ing her pupils cheat dur­ing an exam – but avoided be­ing struck off.

San­dra Beaton, who was a Com­put­ing and Busi­ness stud­ies teacher at Notre Dame High School in Glas­gow, flaunted the rules by al­low­ing pupils ac­cess to the Na­tional 5 Ad­min­is­tra­tion exam pa­per.

The al­le­ga­tions, which Beaton ad­mit­ted in full, re­late to the exam which took place over two blocks back in March 27 and 29, 2017.

How­ever, the find­ings of the Gen­eral Teach­ing Coun­cil for Scot­land’s Fit­ness to Teach Panel have only re­cently been pub­lished.

It found that over the course of the exam – which made up for 100% of the Na­tional 5 Ad­min­is­tra­tion and IT SQA award – Beaton’s con­duct was “dis­hon­est” and “lacked in­tegrity”.

She was given a writ­ten warn­ing af­ter a lo­cal au­thor­ity dis­ci­plinary hear­ing and sub­se­quently trans­ferred to an­other school.

How­ever the tri­bunal still had to de­ter­mine her fit­ness to teach.

Exam guide­lines stated that it was a “closed book” task, with pupils “un­able to ac­cess any sup­port ma­te­ri­als or be pro­vided with advice by a teacher”.

With the as­sess­ment be­ing split over two blocks, the SQA ex­pected all papers to be gath­ered at the end of one block and re-dis­trib­uted at the start of the next – with pupils not to have ac­cess to the papers dur­ing the time in be­tween.

How­ever the tri­bunal found that Beaton had gone over the pa­per in ad­vance of the exam – telling pupils to “take note of ques­tions that could be tricky”.

She also was found to have given as­sis­tance be­tween blocks, giv­ing pupils back their pa­per in ad­vance of re­turn­ing to of­fi­cially fin­ish their as­sess­ment.

The Glas­gow City Coun­cilem­ployed busi­ness teacher also pro­vided pupils with a for­mula to be used dur­ing the as­sign­ment.

De­spite this, the teach­ing coun­cil let Beaton off with a rep­ri­mand, which would last on her reg­is­ter for two years.

The al­le­ga­tions only came to light when a pupil raised the alarm. As a re­sult, the pupils had to have their marks re­graded and four were in­ter­viewed as part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

At least one was said to have been “dis­tressed” by the sit­u­a­tion.

In mak­ing their de­ci­sion, the panel con­sid­ered how Beaton ad­mit­ted the al­le­ga­tions, adding she had been “sub­ject to con­sid­er­able per­sonal stress and some pro­fes­sional stress”.

In their clos­ing re­marks, the panel found that Beaton’s be­hav­iour “had in­volved an abuse of a po­si­tion of trust and that harm had been caused to pupils.”

How­ever, it added that the in­ci­dent was “iso­lated” in the con­text of her lengthy ca­reer, with no rep­e­ti­tion since.

Notre Dame High School in Glas­gow

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