Bedwas teacher forged pupils’ signatures and sent coursework to tip - hearing
9:52am Friday 11th January 2013 in News
A TEACHER at Bedwas High School was sacked after forging the signatures and coursework of pupils and losing their projects and portfolios, a misconduct hearing was told.
Former ICT teacher Anthony Hughes, was dismissed by the school for gross misconduct in November 2011 following the allegations, which led to pupils being re-graded and 21 per cent of his 38-pupil class being given unclassified marks in their GCSEs.
A misconduct hearing of the General Teaching Council Wales in Cardiff heard that each pupil had to hand in a project and portfolio, however 21 complete projects and 16 portfolios were missing and 66 items of work in total, with Mr Hughes claiming he mistakenly sent them to the rubbish tip.
The two-day hearing found it proved that Mr Hughes falsified the signature of one pupil, forged and falsified work and signatures of other pupils, lost work and acted dishonestly.
Assistant head Tom Stancombe said Mr Hughes, who worked at the school from September 2006, had to hand a portfolio and project from five sample pupils in by April 2011, which would be marked by external moderators.
Mr Hughes belatedly did this in May after going on sick leave with an eye condition. However, discrepancies were found between the work handed in and electronic copies held by the school, with signatures, spreadsheets and graphs appearing different.
Following this discovery, the five sample pupils were interviewed and four of them said that the submitted items contained some work they had not done. All pupils in Mr Hughes’ class were then re-marked, with just 16 per cent getting A* to C, compared to 74 per cent based on evidence originally provided by Mr Hughes.
A school disciplinary hearing took place and Mr Hughes was sacked on November 7 2011 for gross misconduct, while an appeal hearing was unsuccessful.
Mr Hughes told the hearing how the department was in “dire straits” when he joined in 2006, with him increasing an A* to C pass rate from three per cent to 50 per cent in two years.
However, he said he was under “a lot of harassment from the school” after taking on the role of union representative for NASUWT. He said concerns he raised for teachers were taken personally against him and claimed headmaster Peter Ward threatened to punch him on one occasion.
He admitted forging one signature, saying he had accidentally spilt coke on the pupil’s work, so created a new cover sheet. Mr Hughes also told the hearing he mistakenly told his sister to take a box of coursework to the tip during a house clearance in what he called “almost a sitcom situation”.
Mr Hughes described his last two years at the school as “horrific”, saying: “I was harassed by the head and was suffering extreme stress and mental issues.”
However, all allegations were found proven by a panel. Mitigation will be heard and sanctions decided at a future hearing.