Little Lever School Head Teacher Personal Statement

Three teachers at award-winning school suspended 'for helping students cheat in GCSEs'

By Jaya Narain for MailOnline
Updated: 03:12 GMT, 11 August 2009




Suspended: Three teachers have been suspended from a school in Bolton amid allegations of cheating

Pupils at an award-winning school will have their exam results withheld over claims that teachers showed them the questions in advance.

Three teachers were suspended from the school and could be sacked over allegations of cheating in GCSE language exams.

They have been interviewed over claims that they showed pupils the exam questions in advance of an oral test and coached them in their answers.

There is no suggestion any of the children who sat the exams are implicated in the alleged breach. But if the claims are found to be true, more than 100 pupils could miss out on their language GCSEs.

An investigation has been launched by headmaster Philip Hewitt into the 'potential breach of regulations' at the 1,022-pupil Little Lever School in Little Lever, near Bolton. He will report his findings to the exam board.

The controversy comes after the specialist language college won the 2009 Good Schools Guide Award for the best results at Asset Languages Intermediate (Level 2) for both girls and boys for French reading.

The investigation is confined solely to oral module of Oxford, Cambridge and RSA (OCR) language exams and makes up 25 per cent of the final exam mark.   

Mr Hewitt, is carrying out the initial investigation and will report his findings to the OCR exam board, which could   decide to award the GCSE, discounting just the speaking test mark or disallow the whole GCSE completely. 

Results for Spanish, German and French exams - due in a fortnight - will now be withheld by exam board.

Results will be delayed for 36 pupils in Year 11, who have been offered places at sixth form colleges in September, and 24 Year 9 pupils who sat the exams in June.  

Also affected are 50 Year 9 and Year 10 pupils who sat the exams early and received their results in May.  

Allegations of cheating: The claims centre on allegations that teachers at the Little Lever School showed students the exam questions before a GCSE oral test

Bolton Council has liaised with sixth form colleges which have have agreed to honour the places they have offered the 36 affected pupils, providing they achieve the required grades in other GCSE subjects specified by the colleges.

Margaret Asquith, director of Children's Services, said: 'The council is supporting the headteacher and the school.  

'This is a serious situation. We are pleased to have found a resolution for the children going to further education and we are very grateful to the sixth form colleges for that.

'We will continue to work with the head in his investigation and with the staff and the school, to ensure the school is able to run as full a timetable as possible from September whatever the outcome of the investigation.'

The potential breach was brought to the school's attention in mid-July by OCR when the oral exam answers were examined closely.  

Pupils have been told to turn up at school as they would have planned to do on that day to receive the rest of their results, minus the French, Spanish and German exams.  

The specialist college offers pupils the chance to learn a variety of languages including French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Italian, Russian, Urdu and Gujarati.

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Welcome to Little Lever School

I am delighted to have been appointed as Headteacher of Little Lever School.  Little Lever is a Good school (Ofsted 2012) and in my short time in the school I have been impressed with the positive attitude of students and their courteous and polite manner.  They have made me feel very welcome.  This is an exciting time for Little Lever School and the children and families we serve within the Little Lever community and together with all the staff at the school I am looking forward to helping our students achieve great things.

I believe hard work and doing the simple things to the best of your ability leads to success.  From the moment students enter our school we expect the very best from them.  In my experience it is amazing how students raise their game and achieve great things when we expect great things of them.

To me the little things matter.  Getting to school on time, dressing smartly, bringing the correct equipment and showing respect for everyone are four simple things everyone can do.  When the little things add up it makes a big difference!

Recognising that all our students have different skills and will grasp concepts and retain knowledge in many different ways is fundamental to helping us meet all our students’ needs.  Meeting our students’ needs through lessons that inspire, engage and respond to students’ areas to improve is at the heart of what we do.  Ensuring every student is known and feels valued through relationships built on mutual respect leads to a happy and safe place to learn. 

Academic success is important but the skills students learn and the character traits of resilience and resourcefulness that students develop in achieving academic success, in my opinion, ensures they are well prepared for whatever adventure they take on in life.

Mr D. Mckeon

Headteacher

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