Head breaks down in tears as he describes how his predecessor faked test scores

WalesOnline reports that Nick Allen’s tears forced the Education Workforce Council hearing to stop briefly as they considered the allegations against Saundersfoot Community Primary School’s former headteacher Helen Lester.

Ms Lester was facing seven allegations, all of which she denied, but of which all or part of six were found proved and one was found not proved by the two-day hearing in Cardiff. The respected headteacher has been banned from teaching and working as a learning support worker for three years.

In her 40-year career, she was head at Saundersfoot Community Primary for 20 years until she retired in 2015 and is also a registered Estyn school inspector and advised other schools for Pembrokeshire Local Education Authority.

Mr Allen said that his deputy head, Sharon Gillespie, had asked him to look at national test papers taken by pupils in literacy and numeracy.

The 390-pupil primary, rated double excellent by Estyn had previously excelled.

When he viewed year four numeracy test results he was shocked that every child got to the last and hardest question. He said “In my view this is very unusual. It appeared a large number had been altered when marked. I noticed teachers’ marks in the margins changed and some amendments to answers.”

When Tenby’s Greenhill High re-tested pupils who transferred there it found some went from full marks to seven out of 20 and half got lower scores in the same test.

Year three teacher Adele Evans said the retired head confronted her saying her pupils’ marks were “crap” and asked if more marks could be found. Miss Lester warned her not to report the conversation as she could “be sacked or go to prison”.

Mr Allen said on September 11, 2015, he emailed Pembrokeshire County Council but was told by email there was “little was to be gained from an investigation with regard to Helen Lester’s practices”. 

Read more  allegations Head breaks down in tears as he describes how his predecessor faked test scores

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  1. wasateacher

    This sort of thing has been going on for years and is a direct consequence of the way schools and teachers are judged by the testing regime. When KS2 was in its early days, I was rather surprised that a child in my Maths class had apparently achieved level 4 on KS2 Maths but could barely reach level 3 on the internal test we carried out – and got elements of level 2 wrong. When I spoke to the child, I was told that it was not a test, it was classwork with teacher’s help. When the value added scores of pupils are given more weighting than the levels, then we may make progress – although, of course, value added can also be fiddled.

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