Sunderland teacher sacked for ‘giving pupils extra marks’

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A TEACHER from the multimillion-pound Academy 360 was sacked for allegedly giving pupils extra marks for their coursework, a tribunal heard.

Carlos Herbane was dismissed from the Pennywell school for gross misconduct, amid claims he gave improper assistance to the children.

It is claimed the ICT teacher provided youngsters with a model answer booklet for their coursework, which a large number of pupils then copied word for word.

Mr Herbane is then accused of failing in his duties to mark fairly, by awarding points for answers where the pupil did not show supporting evidence.

The teacher appealed against the decision to sack him, but this was turned down in May last year.

He then filed a case for unfair dismissal and breach of contract against the Sunderland school.

Yesterday, an employment tribunal panel in Newcastle heard from Howard Brown, a divisional secretary for the National Union of Teachers and himself a senior exam assessor.

He said the circumstances had not been normal, in as much as the school was in the process of becoming an academy at the time and Mr Herbane was having to teach a module which should have taken 120 hours, in half the time.

He also said the coursework should have been checked by the head of ICT before being sent off to the exam board, to ensure they had been marked to the correct criteria.

Mr Brown said in a large number of incidents assessors have to knock down the marks given by teachers due to misinterpretation of the regulations, and that Academy 360 should have had internal standardisation in place to make sure everyone was marking the same way.

“In 25 years I have never known anyone be dismissed for this,” he added. “It should have been dealt with in house with more training being given.”

Elizabeth Smith, acting for Mr Herbane, said there was no suggestion the teacher hid the model booklets and they were clearly marked Do Not Copy, so the students knew they were for example purposes.

Catherine Knowles, acting for Academy 360, said: “We are not talking about the odd one. There were numerous instances of missing evidence. There were 19 examples of copying.

“If he had been upholding his duties as he should have been he would have noticed the copying, and also examples of no evidence to support student answers.”

Ms Knowles said it was for Academy 360 to decide on sanctions it wanted to take and added: “In my submission it was reasonable to conclude that dismissal was appropriate.”

The tribunal panel will make its decision in the coming weeks.