A HEADTEACHER who instructed pupils to cheat in SATs exams has been sacked after she called pupils into her office to “amend” their answers.
Amanda Rush was heard “huffing and puffing” when she saw a student write down an incorrect answer during a maths exam, one witness said.
The teacher at Leesons Primary School, South East London, then handed the pupil a rubber to correct his answer, one witness said.
Another pupil reported how he had been hauled into her office during his lunch break to alter some of his answers.
The former head teacher had denied the accusations which included opening and viewing test papers before the start, and instructing or permitting pupils to change their papers – both during and outside of controlled conditions.
But Mrs Rush did later admit that pupils were permitted to move their answers by writing them in the relevant box on the answer sheet after the test had finished.
She said that she did this because she wanted to ensure that the answers were legible and picked up by the computer.
In her witness statement, Mrs Rush said: “I did realise at the time that what we had done by asking the children to move their answers or make them legible was not in accordance with the guidance.
“However, I had convinced myself that we had done it for the right reasons.”
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The teacher explained pupils were only instructed or permitted to reposition their answers rather than change the wording, but it was found this constituted “improving the answer” and meant marks could have been unfairly awarded.
Mrs Rush also partially admitted to opening two of the papers briefly before the entering the exam room.
The 59-year-old had been in the post for a decade but was dismissed for gross misconduct following a disciplinary hearing in September 2017.
The revelation came about after a student’s mum changed the difficulty setting on a game her son was playing.
She said her son reacted, telling her he was fed up with people “doing things for him”.
When asked to explain, he disclosed that Mrs Rush had asked him to change his answers in her office to his SATs exams.
The pupil, referred to as ‘Pupil A’, said: “Mrs Rush called me in to see her from eating my lunch. I was hungry so I felt annoyed.
I had convinced myself that we had done it for the right reasons
“In my writing paper I had put ‘my friend gave me lots of support for my work’. Mrs Rush asked me what the root word was.
“She rubbed out my answer and asked me to write the word ‘encouragement’.”
The same pupil also revealed he was called in to mark his own Maths exam paper. Mrs Rush had rubbed out the answers and told the pupil “the right answers to put in”, which left the student feeling “annoyed about this”.
Last month, a teacher misconduct panel met to decide whether to ban her from teaching and found they was not satisfied on the balance of probabilities that pupils were instructed or permitted to change the “substance of their answers”.
But the allegation was proved on the basis Mrs Rush had “personally instructed” some pupils to amend their given answers by repositioning them on the answer paper.
However the panel observed the “the nature and severity of the behaviour” was at the “less serious end” of the spectrum.
It said Mrs Rush had shown genuine remorse and was “consumed by sadness and regret” .
The panel said: “Mrs Rush did have a previously good history and the panel accepted that the incident was out of character.
“The panel was provided with numerous very positive character references confirming her significant contribution to the teaching profession over a period of more than 30 years.”
It went on to conclude a prohibition order preventing Mrs Rush from teaching would deprive the public of her contribution