Geography teacher banned after helping GCSE students cheat at school near Sheffield

A Geography teacher who helped her students cheat with their GCSE coursework has been banned from teaching.
Outwood Academy - Google MapsOutwood Academy - Google Maps
Outwood Academy - Google Maps

Mandy Carter was head of Geography at Outwood Academy Portland, in Worksop, when concerns were first raised over her conduct.

A fellow Geogrpahy teacher claimed to senior staff that Ms Carter had produced guidance sheets to help pupils with their controlled assessments, meant to be completed under exam conditions.

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An investigation was launched after Ms Carter emailled her colleague to ask if they could hide the guidance sheet from directors, due to conduct an inspect the following day.

Ms Carter was sacked from the school following the investigation, before referring the case to the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL).

The panel found her guilty of three of the seven allegations against her and banned her from teaching indefinitely.

An NCTL spokesperson said: "Her conduct strikes at the very heart of public confidence in the role of teachers and the integrity of national examinations.

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"The panel is satisfied that her conduct was deliberate and with the aim of inappropriately inflating her students' grades.

"Her conduct took place over a prolonged period and, when challenged about it, her reaction was to try robustly, to deflect that criticism rather than accept that she had acted inappropriately and take remedial action.

"The panel is satisfied that the misconduct of Ms Carter was serious and fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession."

During the investigation, Ms Carter admitted to the panel that she allowed her students to take the controlled assessments, which replaced coursework in 2009, home with them.

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This was despite a guide making it clear that the assessment must be undertaken under "high control" conditions, similar to exam conditions.

Ms Carter was also found to have given her students help and support that was "beyond what was permitted by the exam board's guidelines" in the form of the guidance document.

The document, which Ms Carter asked her former colleague to hide from inspectors, provided advice to students on how to structure their work and what to include in the introduction.

In the email, Ms Carter asked her colleague to "hide the crib sheet", which the panel concluded meant she knew the guidance sheet would not be permitted.

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Despite her claim that she sent the document to the examination board, the panel said that there was no supporting evidence for this.

A spokesperson said: "The panel further considers that letting students take work home amounts to support over and above what is permitted.

"In such circumstances, students would be able to work on these assessments, should they wish, for more than the permitted time."

As a result, the panel also found that Ms Carter did not record how much time her students spent on their assessments, despite "clear time limits".

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They found that no proper or sufficient record was kept of how long students spent on the assessments and that it would be "impossible" for her to record time spent by students working at home.

However, the panel cleared Ms Carter of claims that she added sentences into students' work, that she suggested other teachers should add answers to their work and that she allowed them to copy each other's work.

They then cleared Ms Carter of acting dishonestly but banned her from teaching indefinitely and can't teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children's home in England.

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