Cheating teachers up fourfold in four years

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The number of teachers caught cheating to get better exam results for their pupils has increased fourfold over the last four years, a report has found. Last year, 388 penalties were given to teachers for the offence, compared to 97 in 2013. Offences included giving pupils “inappropriate assistance” on coursework, whispering advice during exams or allowing pupils to continue working past official deadlines.

The study, from the Royal Society of Arts, also found schools were increasingly excluding under-performing students before they took their GCSEs in order for teachers to score better results on average, with the number of cases of such “offrolling” rising by 40 per cent in the last three years.

Julian Astle, the report’s author believes Education has become like a game of ‘whack-a-mole’, with schools finding ever more inventive ways to play the system and ministers struggle to keep up with them. Our school system, with its focus on tests, targets, league tables and inspections, is full of unintended consequences and perverse incentives. It has become such a game that it is forcing teachers and school leaders to choose between helping pupils and helping themselves.

The research, concludes that a sharper focus on tests, league tables and inspections forced teachers to “choose between helping their pupils and helping themselves.” It comes after Ofqual, England’s exams watchdog, said it was reviewing rules allowing teachers to set exam papers their pupils will sit.

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