Dec 09 2013

Newton Farm SATS Tampering: School Fails to Take Action

school_signBack in September, we broke the news of some strange goings-on at Newton Farm school, where a number of Year 6 SATS test papers had be ‘altered’ after they were completed by pupils.

The school investigated, and produced this statement:

An investigation into the administration of this year’s SATS test at Newton Farm School has found that a small number of answers were changed by one staff member. 

The investigation, which was commissioned by the Governing Body and carried out by an independent educational consultant, found that a total of 12 answers on five papers had been changed and that this was the sole action of the retiring Year Six teacher. This teacher left the school in summer 2013 and is not employed at any other school.

The investigator’s report to the school makes clear that no other staff members were in any way involved. The investigation also found that the alterations were unlikely to have given any “noticeable elevation or benefit” to the children’s SATs scores. The investigation has now been drawn to a close.

Chair of Governors Dennis Guest said: “The school deeply regrets this incident and appreciates that it has been upsetting for many parents, as well as our staff who follow the highest standards of honesty, integrity and professionalism. We do not feel that it would be in the interest of our school community to take any further action against the retired teacher, which is in line with the recommendation in the report. This incident should not take away from any of our children’s achievements and from the high standards maintained by all staff currently at the school. We will continue to strive to provide the best possible education for our pupils.”

The report also recommended reinforcing some of the rigorous procedures already in place in the school, such as the guidance and Code of Conduct already issued to staff, and we have agreed to do so.

So, there we are. The school had pinned it on someone who no longer works there, and has decided that it’ll take no action. But surely, somebody at the school must be responsible for ensuring that these things don’t happen? And yet, here, the school simply blames someone who’s left. That’s it, sweep it under the carpet. Maybe it’s time for the school’s Headteacher, to be held accountable, rather than the blame laying with a teacher no longer able to defend herself?

Mumsnet has a very interesting discussion about the school, it’s behaviours, and it’s head teacher. The Harrow Times likewise has a number of comments as well.

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  1. All things good

    This would not be the first or the last time that a school and it’s board of governors sweep things under the carpet. You only have to look back at Weald school a few years ago to know the cloak of secrecy that surrounded the head and the deputy head who were both suspended, and both of whom went on to leave and were given big fat pay offs! What needs to be understood here is that the Council along with the Head would have had a hand in dictating the outcome, as they have done in other schools. It is also well known that Heads in schools will always be overly friendly with the board of governors to ensure that in the main they come down on the side of the school. The person here was found guilty of serious misconduct, so therefore punishment of sorts should be meted out, after all it was an illegal act. This you can be sure of is not the first time a school has acted illegally, unfortunately Harrow Council are very adept at covering things up for the sake of keeping their reputation of good and or outstanding schools. Shame on the governors for not taking a tougher stance!

  2. Concerned Harrovian

    If the actions of the retired teacher were a crime why didn’t the school call the police in to investigate and bring charges. Thank you “all things good” for reminding us about the Weald school cover up. The education of the children should be put first and not the school’s position in the league tables. What example does pushing things under the carpet set the children? Excerpt from The Prince, written by Niccolo Machiavelli in the early sixteenth century, “the end justifies the means.”
    Is this Newton Farm’s School motto?

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