Head banned from teaching for life after SATs papers altered

The Metro is reporting that a head teacher of a struggling primary school where SATs papers were altered has been banned from the profession for life.

David Knight altered pupils’ exam scripts in May 2014 while head of Tatworth Primary School in Somerset…

Knight was the school’s headteacher from April 2002 until his retirement in August 2014 and only he had the key to the cupboard in which the papers were stored…

In May 2013, the school received an anonymous allegation from a parent who said Knight had been giving pupils the answers in Key Stage 2 test.

The matter was investigated by Somerset Local Authority but no evidence was found to support the allegation.

But the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) recalled the school’s scripts for the 2014 Key Stage 2 tests taken by pupils in May 2014.

A forensic review revealed that Knight had corrected the scripts for mental maths and spelling.

Knight accepted that amendments were made, but claimed he did not know how.

He suggested there was an opportunity for others to have changed the scripts before they reached his office…

More at: Head teacher cheated for pupils to improve his school’s results


Read or download the NCTL panel outcome in full:

[pdf-embedder url=”https://4cpa373vsw6v3t1suthjdjgv-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Knight__David_-_Web_Decision.pdf”]


Mr Knight might consider himself extremely unlucky to have been caught here but can we really trust a system that is so open to abuse?

Surely, for the sake of everyone involved – not least other staff members who may be under pressure to go along with cheating – better safeguards are needed?

Please give us your opinions in the comments or via Twitter…


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  1. sisterofmurphy

    SchoolsImprove secondary HTs know which schools’ SATS are doctored. Discrepancy between grades and learning.

  2. DrDD

    The question should be why did he feel the need to do this. Was it undue pressure to achieve targets he knew were unrealistic or a desire to advance his own career. Let them cast the first stone………

  3. High stakes tests which judge schools encourage this kind of behaviour.  Dump the tests and heads wouldn’t be tempted to do this.
    That said, cheating is wrong.  Inflated results do nothing to help the children whose results were doctored – it may bring a false sense of their own ability as well as causing problems for secondary schools as sisterofmurphy explains below.

  4. Angry_Teacher_

    SchoolsImprove If you lowered the personal risks involved with tests there’s less temptation to manipulate the results.

  5. acet2001

    SchoolsImprove Stop using the tests as though they are the sole expression of the school’s success or otherwise. Ridiculously high stakes.

  6. PriMathsPaul

    SchoolsImprove head had already retired from the profession so the sanction set down seems a bit pointless/empty. I’m sure he’s not alone

Let us know what you think...