Teacher ‘tipped off by examiner over questions for pupils’

The revision list matched the order of the exam the pupils sat
The revision list matched the order of the exam the pupils sat
Share this article
Have your say

A TEACHER received inside ­information from a Scottish Qualification Authority ­employee before drawing up her school’s exam revision lists, a tribunal has heard.

Sabrina Ferguson, a graphic communications teacher, is said to have been passed the vital ­information by national exam vetter, Bob Roberts, during an out-of-hours school meeting.

Ms Ferguson allegedly used the inside knowledge to make up the revision lists which she then distributed to teaching staff at Lornshill Academy, Alloa.

Mr Roberts, who appeared as a witness at a teaching tribunal, faced allegations of being the source of the information Ms Ferguson had used, and also of showing a pupil a complicated technical drawing that subsequently appeared in an exam the child sat weeks later in 2010.

Mr Roberts, the former head of the school’s technical department, was also accused of deliberately allowing his teaching registration to lapse after retirement, in an effort to avoid any future disciplinary proceedings against him. Mr Roberts denied all the ­allegations put to him during the General Teaching Council for Scotland hearing.

The GTCS charged Mr Roberts’ former colleague Ms Ferguson, claiming she got the ­information relating to future exams, and then made revision lists for exams in March 2010. Ms Ferguson, who denies the charges, appeared at the hearing yesterday. The panel heard that after he retired, Mr Roberts visited the school in March 2010 and met Ms Ferguson and one pupil.

Mr Roberts had a technical drawing with him that he knew was a “recognised topic that [usually] gave pupils ­difficulty” and showed it to the teenager.

The hearing was told a very similar version of the drawing featured in the exam which the pupil took just weeks later. Ms Ferguson, 41, claimed the similarities in revision lists from 2010 and the exam questions were down to “coincidence”. She also claimed the ­allegations were brought due to a vendetta by two members of the school’s teaching staff.

Solicitor Niall McLean, for the GTCS, told the panel there was “clear evidence” the 2010 Graphic Communication exam papers had been compromised.

He added: “The evidence of the Council’s witnesses was that while they were content to ­accept only topics featured, the revision list exactly matched the order of the exam paper and, for that ­reason, their conclusion was that whoever prepared the ­general revision list had access to the exam paper.”

Mr McLean said Mr Roberts and Ms Ferguson were “not credible or reliable witnesses” and the complaint against Ms Ferguson should be found proved.

The hearing was also told Mr Roberts had faced a similar ­allegation in 2009, but no official complaints were brought.

The case, in Edinburgh, concludes next month.