'Dishonest' deputy head at Leicester primary school helped students cheat test

Belgrave St Peter's, a Church of England primary school, in Leicester
-Credit: (Image: Google)


The deputy head of Belgrave St Peter's, a Church of England primary school in Leicester, quit after helping children by telling them when their answers were wrong. Peter Hill was caught out when an assessor working for the trust that runs the school was observing his class ahead of an English SAT test in May 2022 and he quit afterwards.

A child at the school in Belgrave asked Mr Hill: "Will we be doing that thing where there’s pointing at the wrong answers?" Mr Hill replied: "No, we aren’t going to do that.

"We didn’t do that yesterday, did we? Did we?"

READ MORE: Leicestershire's richest people revealed by survey of nation's multi-millionaires

The independent observer then interviewed a group of children. A report published recently by the Teaching Regulation Agency said: "This group informed him that they were told on the previous Friday that if they got an answer wrong, the teachers would point to it so that they could rethink the answer."

Other pupils also hinted that other teachers at the school were doing the same thing. The report said: "Pupil O identified Mr Hill, along with another class teacher, as telling the class that they would point out if the pupils had made a mistake."

Another pupil told the assessor that they had asked Mr Hill for a rubber to erase an answer. The report said that Mr Hill replied: "If I was you I would leave it,” or words to that effect.

The report said Mr Hill "admitted unacceptable professional conduct and/or conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute."

After Mr Hill resigned the Teaching Regulation Agency had to decide whether or not he should be allowed to work as a teacher again. The panel deciding the matter concluded that he should be allowed to.

The panel concluded Mr Hill "was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct" and that "the findings of misconduct were serious and the conduct displayed would be likely to have a negative impact on the individual’s status as a teacher, potentially damaging the public perception".

But the panel said he was remorseful and had been under stress at the time, filling in for the headteacher, who had been absent for long periods. They concluded: "The panel did acknowledge Mr Hill’s long career.

"In particular, there was no evidence before the panel that Mr Hill was previously subject to any disciplinary proceedings or warnings, or that he was not of good character. The panel further considered Mr Hill’s written statement in which he described his passion for teaching and his roles in extra-curricular activities, along with his development as a leader during his career.

"The panel also considered the extent to which Mr Hill had shown insight and remorse into his actions. The panel therefore considered that Mr Hill had recognised the seriousness of his actions and demonstrated how such conduct would be avoided in the future.

"The panel also concluded that Mr Hill’s actions, although dishonest, were motivated by a genuine desire to further the interests of the school. In light of this, the panel considered that there was limited risk of repetition."

Mark Cole, CEO of Rise Multi Academy Trust, which runs the school, stressed it was the trust's own staff that "identified the unacceptable professional conduct in question during an unannounced monitoring visit" before they reported it "at the earliest opportunity".

He said: "It was the trust's vigilance that highlighted the behaviours in question. We continue to make unannounced visits to all of our schools to ensure exemplary administrations of tests."

He said there was now new leadership in place at the school and that there had been "no further concerns around assessment administration".