Primary school head banned from classroom for life after fiddling SATS results

The Western Daily Press is reporting that a local primary school headmistress who fiddled SATS results after her school came under threat of being turned into an academy has been banned from the classroom for life.

Rehana Siraj-Allan, 56, tampered with her pupils’ Key Stage 2 Standard Assessment Tests in reading and maths, the panel found. 

The head, who had been at the school for 12 years, had achieved good results after taking over the failing inner-city Easton Church of England Primary School in Bristol. 

But results had “reached a plateau” and the school was at risk of being turned into an academy which both she and others at the school were strongly resisting. 

As a muslim, her appointment to the Church of England school led to several governors resigning in protest. 

Mrs Siraj-Allan had been described as “a leading light” and “genuine, hard working and committed” when she took over. 

She had denied tampering with the papers but admitted she failed to keep them secure and allowed other teachers to review them before they were sent off. 

She also sought to blame others. 

But the professional conduct panel of the National College for Teaching and Leadership found she “dishonestly” amended Year 6 pupils’ test papers and banned her from teaching indefinitely. 

It found all the amendments were the work of one person and only Mrs Siraj-Allan had the opportunity to do it. 

Chair Fiona Tankard said: “In addition, the panel was of the view that Mrs Siraj-Allan was under severe pressure at the time, as there was a risk of the school being forced to become an academy, which she and others involved in the school were strongly resisting. 

“She had every motivation to ensure that the attainment level of her pupils showed improvement, in order to avoid this risk…

More at: Bristol primary school headmistress banned from classroom for LIFE after fiddling SATS results


Read the NCTL prohibition order in full:

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It is difficult not to empathise with the pressure, but surely there can be no excuse for behaving like this?

Personally, I don’t understand why cheating in schools isn’t seen as a criminal offence rather than just professional misconduct.


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Categories: Academies, Leadership and Primary.


  1. A OSullivan

    Published in The Guardian back in 2005. Many of the examples listed are still occurring within both SATs and end of year assessments,  due to pressure of staff workload; SLTs who know how to work the system etc:

    26 steps to better results
    Rigging the results: the ways in which primary teachers cheat
    1. Silently indicating to children if they have got a question wrong by
    grimacing or shaking head, and conversely indicating a correct answer by
    means of nodding
    2. Tapping children’s exam scripts to indicate an answer is wrong
    3. Telling children “Have another look at the question” if answer is
    or “Now move on to the next question” if it is right
    4. Reading out the questions with meaningful intonations
    5. Walking round the classroom and similarly “reading” questions to
    individual children
    6. Rubbing out wrong answers in class and asking children to write them
    7. Leaving wallcharts, spelling bees and other displays containing answers
    on the wall
    8. Opening the paper (officially allowed one hour before the test, but only
    for special reasons) and going over certain questions with the class before
    starting the test
    9. In the spelling test, sounding out the words in syllables, eg
    op-po-site, and then telling children how many letters in each syllable or
    10. Allowing the whole class extra time by not notifying them of the time
    they are supposed to finish
    11. Gaining advance knowledge of the tests through papers sent out to
    markers before the test dates, then teaching specific topics
    12. Becoming a marker in order to see tests in advance
    13. Making children write out the same story several times, then learn it
    off by heart before the writing test
    14. Opening the papers early and working through the same maths problems,
    altering the numbers slightly
    15. Sitting less able children next to more able ones so they will copy
    16. Opening marking schemes in advance to check children are using specific
    vocabulary expected in science paper
    17. Going through the papers afterwards, putting in missing decimal points,
    minus signs, full stops
    18. Going through papers afterwards rubbing out incorrect answers
    19. Having readers – classroom assistants or student teachers – who are
    allowed to read questions to special educational needs pupils use
    intonation which will lead them to the answer, or break down the question
    into different parts
    20. Rephrasing a question to make children understand it better
    21. Giving papers sat in the morning back to children for further work in
    the afternoon
    22. Circulating around the class, suggesting a child should “check”
    23. Opening aural test answer books before the test, working out the topic
    areas, and “warming the children up” with similar questions in the 10
    minutes before the exam
    24. Calling children back to change their stories in written tests because
    they were “unclear”
    25. Taking papers home at night to correct them
    26. School secretaries putting off the parents of “difficult”,
    excluded or
    struggling children from applying for their children to attend a school,
    fearing their future grades could lower the school’s average

  2. peterabarnard

    SchoolsImprove De facto purpose, wrong measures=wrong method. Classic case of targets distorting behaviour ….another management casualty.

  3. WendyC116

    SchoolsImprove & what about the teachers that manipulate results /alter papers / prompt children – especially year 2! & heads that allow it

  4. extokyotyke

    WendyC116 SchoolsImprove Not just pressure but careers too. I’m sure some heads do this for their own personal glory.

  5. Bedtonman

    cherrylkd SchoolsImprove naturally this is wrong but this is just an example of the extreme pressure on headteachers

  6. jeografy

    Will the educationgovuk Ofstednews NickyMorgan01 NickGibbMP be sacking themselves for manipulating the truth as well?

  7. acet2001

    SchoolsImprove A criminal offence because she caused harm to, well who exactly? When you consider what some of the bankers got away with?

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