Rotherham head teacher banned after falsifying students' progress records

By Michael Upton | 08/02/2017

Rotherham head teacher banned after falsifying students' progress records
Brinsworth Manor Junior School.

A HEAD teacher who falsified records on student progress and rated lessons he had not attended has been banned from teaching.
 
Simon Pringle (49), produced false data for pupil progress while working at Brinsworth Manor Junior School in 2011.
 
He then ignored staff when they expressed concern over his actions, the National College for Teaching and Leadership heard.
 
In April 2011, Pringle wrote false lesson feedback for some teachers, including for lessons he had never even attended.
 
The head gave teachers a sheet of paper for a visit by Her Majesty’s inspectorate in 2014, asking them to grade pupils' progress on a scale of zero to two, with one representing expected progress, and two meaning really good or outstanding progress.
 
Along with telling staff to fill in the form, he also told them scores must be at least one for each.
 
Teachers were given a limited time to fill in the assessment, and some were even asked to do so while teaching lessons, the panel heard.
 
Pringle also falsely put date into a progress tracking system known as ‘O’Track.
 
He filled in attainment figures indicating what “goodish” attainment would be by hand, and told staff to “err on the side of generosity” in their own assessments.
 
Staff were also told on a blog by Pringle: “We cannot show less than expected progress - if progress for a group…is less than expected, we are shooting ourselves in the foot before we start.
 
“Internally, we will measure progress using Spring 1 data to give a fully realistic picture and plan accordingly in subsequent terms - measuring and showing progress using the Spring 2 data gives us a fighting chance with ‘outsiders.’”
 
After an investigation in July 2015, Pringle resigned with immediate effect on September 30 of that year.
 
The NCTL panel found that he had prepared false information, presented it to external visitors, failed to address staff concerns and acted dishonestly.
 
Handing him a prohibition order, NCTL panel chair Jean Carter said: “The panel noted that Mr Pringle stated that the pressure of working in a school that was judged as ‘requiring improvement’ together with personal problems, resulted in his actions of falsifying data.
 
“The panel noted that Mr Pringle was also dealing with difficult circumstances in his personal life.
 
“There was no evidence to suggest that the teacher was acting under duress.
 
“The panel makes a recommendation to the Secretary of State that a prohibition order should be imposed with immediate effect.”
 
Pringle, who was not present at the hearing, was banned from teaching indefinitely, but may apply for a review in two years.

Vicky Helliwell, executive head at the school, said: “I became aware of issues in the reporting of school data after I took up post as executive head at the school in April 2015. I suspended Mr Pringle and reported the issue to the local authority.

“He has now been given a Prohibition Order following an investigating by the National College, which means he can no longer teach. He left the school on September, 30,  2015, and has not had contact with any member of staff or pupils since he was suspended in June 2015.

“I want to assure parents and carers that there has been no adverse impact on children’s education or teaching.”



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