Probe into claims teachers at Hackney secondary school were ordered to falsify assessment marks

Governors respond to union demands for an investigation

A probe has been launched into claims that teachers at a Hackney secondary school were instructed to falsify pupils’ marks.

Independent investigators have been called to Cardinal Pole Catholic School in Homerton to look into the accusations made by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) over teacher assessments.

It was revealed that the school’s board of governors had called for an investigation into the claims on Monday.

A number of teachers at the school have alleged they were told to record inaccurate results for pupils in Years 7 to 9 in order to show Ofsted inspectors that achievements had improved, following a report which rated the school as only “satisfactory” in March.

Documents seen by the Gazette, and signed by more than 40 staff members, stated that two emails from a senior staff member last term required teachers to record assessment results showing “progress” had been made.

Some of the teachers sought clarification over the instruction and asked if the school required them to “fabricate data”.

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The NUT said the answer given during a staff briefing was: “Yes, every school does it and we have been too honest about data we have inputted.”

The orders sparked outrage among teachers and the NUT called for an investigation.

One teacher said: “Staff are being put in a difficult ethical position, adding that the reasons for a pupil’s poor progress “should not be glossed over by imputing inflated grades into a computer”.

The Learning Trust and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster (RCDOW), which oversee the school, said they supported the governors’ decision for an investigation this week.

“It is vital that confidence in the high standards of teaching is maintained,” said a RCDOW spokesman.

Mark Lushington, Hackney’s NUT representative, welcomed the investigation and said the union would co-operate fully.

“Were the allegations to be substantiated a number of senior members of staff would have to reconsider their position,” he said.

“But we are not going to prejudge this.”

The school has denied the claims.

Ms Hartigan said: “I am extremely disappointed by these allegations which question the professionalism of staff at the school and casts an unwarranted shadow over our pupils’ achievements.”

Teacher assessments do not impact on GCSE results but Ofsted uses them in its reports. A spokesman said it took any allegation of schools falsifying coursework very seriously.

“If allegations are made, it is right that the governors should carry out an investigation into the circumstances and take action where necessary.”