South Tyneside school’s deputy principal banned from teaching for assigning false grades and swapping student work


Colin Laughton, who was assistant principal at the Hebburn Comprehensive School.

The indefinite ban – which can be revised after a minimum of two years – was imposed on Colin Laughton, who was employed at Hebburn Comprehensive School as deputy principal and head of ICT until January 2020.

A meeting of the Teaching Regulation Agency’s Professional Conduct Committee learned that the Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examination Board wrote to the

principal in July 2019 following a suspicion of professional misconduct regarding examinations and assessments carried out at the school.

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Mr Laughton, who worked at the school for 23 years, admitted that he gave false marks for internally assessed items from one or more student courses when there was no evidence for justify the marks awarded and that he had submitted false marks for one or more students.

He also admitted that he gave 34 points to one student – Student A – for her assessment work when she had not completed the assessment and should have been awarded around 14 points. And also that he substituted part of the controlled assessment courses of pupil B for the examination board in place of the controlled assessment courses of the pupil AM Laughton later admitted “that he did not no one else to blame but me ”for his actions.

A report on the results of the hearing said: “Mr. Laughton has clearly and unequivocally awarded marks for work not yet submitted on the basis of previous work and the expected quality of future work, which in some cases does not ‘were ultimately not submitted. “

He continued, “Minutes of a management meeting held on September 6, 2019 showed that Mr. Laughton specifically admitted to assigning a number of marks to at least one student when there was little or no evidence. of relevant work in progress, and that this was done on the basis of the work they had previously submitted. Mr. Laughton also unequivocally admitted that he was aware of the Examination Board’s requirement to “mark only the work that is in front of you” that has been completed and submitted by the student. “

Regarding the exchange of Student B’s work for Student A, he added: “The panel noted that Mr. Laughton admitted in a statement to the OCR that he substituted the work of one student to another. He explained that having received the notification from the OCR that Student A’s work should be submitted for moderation, he noticed that Student A had not completed the relevant courses and decided to submit the student B’s work instead.

“In an interview with management on July 17, 2019, Mr Laughton provided context for his decision but said ‘there is no one to blame but me’.

The panel concluded that “it was clear that there had been no error or negligence on the part of Mr. Laughton”.

The report adds: “The panel noted that Mr. Laughton’s conduct took place over a period of time and consisted of a number of deliberate acts. Based on the evidence before them, the jury found that Mr. Laughton proactively thought about what he was doing, in that he knowingly submitted grades before the students finished and submitted their work.

“The records of the management meetings showed that Mr. Laughton was aware of what he should and could have done to correct the wrong notes, but that he had not done so.

“The panel was convinced that Mr. Laughton’s conduct fell significantly short of the expected standards of the profession. They found that the proven behavior did not reflect high standards of ethics and behavior and had undermined policies and procedures. school standards and ROC.

“In the opinion of the jury, recording inaccurate marks could harm students in the long term because they would not be provided with a true reflection of their performance.

“The panel felt that these actions were disrespectful to students and incompatible with the need to treat students with dignity. “

She found that Mr. Laughton had engaged in “willful and dishonest conduct” and was satisfied that Mr. Laughton had been guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

Mr Laughton may request that the indefinite ban be reviewed after a minimum of two years, but not until September 17, 2023 at the earliest opportunity.

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