A Midland deputy head teacher who changed answers given by pupils in their SAT exams in order to boost her school’s results has escaped with a reprimand.
Anne Hebditch was also found to have inaccurately recorded test scores in mathematics and reading papers taken by year three seven-year-olds at Albrighton St Mary's CE School in Wolverhampton.
However, she escaped being struck off as a teacher because of the “stress and heavy workload” under which she was working.
A hearing of the General Teaching Council for England held in Birmingham concluded Ms Hebditch had breached the teachers’ Code of Conduct and judged her actions “unacceptable”.
It said by altering test answers and recording inaccurate scores she had brought “the reputation and standing of the profession into disrepute”.
In its final statement the GTCE stated: “The committee concludes that it is not appropriate for a teacher to alter pupils’ test answers or to record inaccurate test scores.
“Teaching colleagues, pupils and parents have a legitimate right to expect that test results and the recording are accurately kept and maintained.
“They must also be an accurate reflection of a pupil’s attainment and achievement and it is, we believe, to their detriment when such documents and results cannot be relied upon.”
The hearing heard how Ms Hebditch’s handwriting was recognised on altered papers submitted by pupils.
The committee said: “We have not been able to conclude the total numbers of test answers which have been altered, but are satisfied on the evidence available that there was alteration by Mrs Hebditch of pupils’ test answers.”
In relation to the recording of inaccurate test scores, the committee said: “We have noted from the submission made on Mrs Hebditch’s behalf on the 17 June 2008 that it is accepted that some of the test results were marked incorrectly.
“We have also considered carefully the test scores themselves and we believe that they indicate results which are not an accurate reflection of the pupils’ test scores.”
A further charge that Ms Hebditch had completed unanswered questions on behalf of pupils was not proven.
The deputy head received a reprimand from the GTCE which will remain on her record for two years but does not stop her from teaching. The council said: “We have decided to impose a reprimand which we believe reflects the seriousness of the case, but also reflects the mitigation put forward by Ms Hebditch.
“We note the stress and heavy workload under which Ms Hebditch was working, her wider mitigation and length of service as a teacher which was unblemished.
“We have also noted the documents which have been submitted in her support.”