Orpington head who forced pupils to change exam answers spared teaching ban

·2-min read
Leesons Primary School (Google)
Leesons Primary School (Google)

A headteacher who was sacked by an Orpington primary school for making pupils change their answers in exams has been spared a professional ban.

Amanda Rush, 59, was dismissed from Leesons Primary School for gross misconduct in 2017 after admitting telling pupils taking SATs to change their answers.

A Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) conduct panel investigated the case in December to determine whether further action should be taken, publishing its conclusions this month.

The panel found that Mrs Rush had personally instructed some pupils to amend their given answers by repositioning them on an answer paper, ensuring they were inside a box.

TRA decision maker John Knowles, who could have banned Mrs Rush from teaching, concluded that no further action was required.

He acknowledged the teacher had been "consumed by sadness and regret" in the years since she was sacked.

In her witness statement, Mrs Rush said: “I did realise at the time that what we had done by asking the children to move their answers or make them legible was not in accordance with the guidance.

“However, I had convinced myself that we had done it for the right reasons.”

The pupils were forced to retake their exams after they were voided due to the probe.

The panel was not satisfied “on the balance of probabilities” that pupils were encouraged to change the substance of their answers, despite receiving testimony from one pupil who claimed Mrs Rush called them into her office at lunch to amend their paper.

The pupil said: “Mrs Rush called me in to see her from eating my lunch.

“I was hungry so I felt annoyed. In my writing paper I had put 'my friend gave me lots of support for my work'.

“Mrs Rush asked me what the root word was.

“She rubbed out my answer and asked me to write the word 'encouragement'.

“Mrs Rush called me in to mark my Maths paper too.

“She had rubbed out my answers and she told me the right answers to put in. I felt annoyed about this."

The panel heard how another pupil reacted when his mother adjusted the setting level on one of his games at home, telling her that he was fed up with people doing things for him.

When asked to explain, “he disclosed that Mrs Rush had asked him to change his answers in her office following completion of his SATs.”

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