Beds, Herts & Bucks

Teachers win dismissal case over SATs 'cheating'

Our Lady Image copyright SOUTH BEDS NEWS AGENCY
Image caption Three teachers at Our Lady in Hitchin have won their cases at an employment tribunal

Three primary school teachers who were sacked for "inflating" pupils' SATs results have won their case at an employment tribunal.

Rosa Phillips, Liz Tye and Sarah Miles denied boosting grades at Our Lady Catholic Primary in Hitchin, Herts.

An investigation by the Standards and Testing Agency also found nothing wrong, the hearing in Cambridge was told.

In a written ruling, Judge Alan Johnson said their cases were "well founded".

The tribunal panel heard that concerns about a 100% pass rate at the primary school had been raised by the head of John Henry Newman, the Catholic senior school in Stevenage.

Clive Mathew claimed 2017 GCSE results of pupils who had come from Our Lady had not been in line with their assessments.

The sacked teachers said they had supported four vulnerable pupils from the 26 students to get them through - something that may not have continued at the senior school.

They told the hearing they believed they were "scapegoats" for failings at John Henry Newman.

Image copyright SOUTH BEDS NEWS AGENCY
Image caption The teachers at Our Lady were sacked for "inflating" SATs grades

Mrs Phillips, 47, from Lower Stondon, Bedfordshire, who was head of Key Stage Two, was suspended in January 2018 and sacked two months later.

She told the tribunal she had been "meticulous and thorough" in marking, and had "never been complicit in a culture of inflating grades".

She said two Ofsted inspections and external moderation by Hertfordshire County Council found nothing wrong.

Mrs Tye, 41, from Hitchin, a special needs co-ordinator with an "exemplary record", described her dismissal as "horrific".

She told the hearing she believed the senior school believed "pupils made less progress than other feeder schools on the assumption the school had cheated in Key Stage 2".

Mrs Tye said 63 schools in England had achieved 100 per cent in phonics "three or more times in a row".

Both women claimed unfair dismissal from the Diocese of Westminster Academy Trust, which runs 11 schools in Hertfordshire and London.

Sarah Miles, 37, claimed constructive dismissal. She had been sacked in March 2018, but reinstated on appeal.

A remedy hearing will take place at a later date.

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