Teacher at Newton Farm Nursery, Infant and Junior School in South Harrow cheated on pupils' final year exams - school 'deeply regrets' actions

Harrow Times: The retiring teacher ammended the answers on five exam papers to improve her pupils' results (file photo) The retiring teacher ammended the answers on five exam papers to improve her pupils' results (file photo)

A retiring teacher at England’s top performing primary school changed the answers on a series of final year exam papers to improve her pupils’ grades, an independent investigation has found.

The year six teacher at Newton Farm Nursery, Infant and Junior School altered a total of 12 answers on five papers in her final year at the South Harrow school.

Suspicions over the SATs papers in maths, and grammar, punctuation and spelling, were raised by assessors after the tests were taken by the 11-year-olds in May.

The exam results were annulled by the Standards and Testing Agency, part of the Department for Education, in June and an independent investigation was commissioned by the school’s governing body.

Results of that investigation, published today, found the teacher had cheated on the exams before she retired from the profession at the end of the summer term.

The investigation concluded no other teachers at the Ravenswood Crescent school were involved in the malpractice and said the alterations to the test papers were unlikely to have given any “noticeable elevation or benefit” to the children’s test scores.

Despite that, several Year Six pupils were left to apply for secondary school places this year without the relevant SATs exams scores.

The school, which falls under the remit of Harrow Borough Council and has topped the SATs league tables across the country for the past two years, says it is not taking further action against the teacher.

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 Harrow Times has contacted headteacher Rekha Bhakoo and council leader Susan Hall for a comment.

Comments (4)

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12:24pm Wed 4 Dec 13

Oscillator says...

"“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."

Farcical - this was a criminal offence - what sort of message does it send, when it is then ignored. The Governors themselves are unfit for office if they maintain this stance, and Central Govt should step in to take the necessary actions.
"“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." Farcical - this was a criminal offence - what sort of message does it send, when it is then ignored. The Governors themselves are unfit for office if they maintain this stance, and Central Govt should step in to take the necessary actions. Oscillator

12:49pm Thu 5 Dec 13

Duke of Chandos says...

How convenient the teacher has now retired!

Who conducted the independent review?
How convenient the teacher has now retired! Who conducted the independent review? Duke of Chandos

3:48pm Thu 5 Dec 13

jackdaw says...

This teacher has let down her profession. How upsetting it must be for the other teachers, chikldren and parents. This betrayal fo trust was shameful.
This teacher has let down her profession. How upsetting it must be for the other teachers, chikldren and parents. This betrayal fo trust was shameful. jackdaw

6:31pm Thu 5 Dec 13

Sonoo Malkani says...

Hard to believe this sort of thing happens in a borough which prides itself on the quality of its schools.It seems this teacher has not only done this now but also at other times and simply turning a blind eye on grounds of retirement is very unfair to the teaching profession,school children and parents whose trust has been blatantly abused.

It is not something one can afford to overlook since it sends out the message that it's ok to do such things and just apologise to be forgiven for indirectly tarnishing the good names of so many colleagues, within the same school and teaching profession.Our teachers are our lifelong role models.Should they choose to compromise standards of excellence they must be prepared to face the music.
Hard to believe this sort of thing happens in a borough which prides itself on the quality of its schools.It seems this teacher has not only done this now but also at other times and simply turning a blind eye on grounds of retirement is very unfair to the teaching profession,school children and parents whose trust has been blatantly abused. It is not something one can afford to overlook since it sends out the message that it's ok to do such things and just apologise to be forgiven for indirectly tarnishing the good names of so many colleagues, within the same school and teaching profession.Our teachers are our lifelong role models.Should they choose to compromise standards of excellence they must be prepared to face the music. Sonoo Malkani

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