'˜Overworked' teacher falsified pupils' exam results

A TEACHER falsified exam results for more than 50 students because she was 'drowning in work'.

Caroline Grieve. Picture: submitted

Caroline Grieve created false National 5 English results for a total of 54 pupils - half of the students she was teaching at the time

Ms Grieve, who taught English at Dumfries High, was disorganised and lacked rigour in keeping records of pupils’ work.

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A disciplinary hearing of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) heard evidence that she altered results so that pupils were not punished as a result of her “mess”.

The 30-year-old admits that in January 2015 she passed students’ exam coursework when it was a fail or the evidence was incomplete. But she denies she was dishonest or untrustworthy in doing so.

The hearing in Edinburgh was told that Ms Grieve was interviewed after the discrepancies emerged by a quality improvement officer from Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Sheelagh Rusby said in a statement read out to the hearing: “I asked why she had marked the work as a fail but then entered it as a pass.

“She said she didn’t want pupils to miss out because of her mess or mistakes.”

The problem was discovered shortly after a new principal teacher of English, Claire Harrison, arrived at the school in January 2015. She felt procedures relating to Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) exams were “very ad hoc”.

She told the hearing: “Caroline had been open that she struggled with time management and organisation.

“I went to Caroline for evidence [of pupils’ work] and I took it home and it looked like there were a lot of discrepancies, there were some bits of evidence missing.

“I went back to her and asked for the missing evidence and she looked panicked. There was a lack of rigour and she struggled more than others on the team.”

Ms Harrison said she did not believe Ms Grieve had acted deliberately. “I never got the impression she tried to dodge or manipulate anything,” she said.

Giving evidence, Ms Grieve said: “I felt like I was drowning in my workload. I had forgotten about inputting the marks completely. Staff were sent an email reminding them to input the data.

“As a result of the health issues I was suffering at the time I can’t recall in detail when the email was sent but it was close to the deadline. I hadn’t put in place any planning to make the time.”

She added: “I genuinely believed I had the evidence. I was not a rational person at that time, I was so disorganised I didn’t know what I had and didn’t have.”

Pressed by GTCS case presenter Gary Burton on what evidence she used, the teacher admitted: “I used holistic judgement on the grades, which is part of the grading process. The disorder of the paperwork matched the disorder going on in my mind.”

The GTCS alleges that Ms Grieve intended to protect “approximately 54 pupils” and “to prevent your own lack of organisation from being discovered” during 2014 and 2015.

The GTCS says she recorded six unit results as a pass when she had previously marked them as fails and recorded a further 34 unit results as a pass despite the evidence being incomplete.

Another charge alleges that 13 unit results recorded as passes were later found to be fails.

The GTCS panel now must decide if Ms Grieve is unfit to teach. If they reach that decision she could be struck off.

The hearing continues.