Gala Academy teacher is struck off for three months for giving false extra marks

A Galashiels Academy teacher has been struck off the teaching register for three months after giving two pupils false extra marks to pass an assessment.

Scott Shields, a business management teacher at the secondary school, provided false information to the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) regarding two pupils’ NAB assessments in 2010.

The pupils were taking an Information Technology for Management Course and a NAB is an end-of-unit assessment that pupils must pass before sitting an external exam, and is short for National Assessment Bank, which is marked by subject teachers.

The deception came to light when one of the two girls reported the incident to her pastoral teacher – after Mr Shields told the two pupils what he had done, and asked them to keep quiet.

Believing he might be under investigation, Mr Shields then sent one of the pupils and her family a letter asking them to withdraw the allegations against him.

However, although ruling this week that the allegation of falsifying NAB results was proved, members of the General Teaching Council for Scotland’s Fitness to Teach Panel said Mr Shields’ actions were out of character and an attempt to assist the two pupils.

The panel also found the letter was sent by Mr Shields when he was “under stress”.

At the three-day hearing earlier this month, Mr Shields admitted there were a “couple of marks” he would not now have awarded when marking the pupils’ NAB.

He said at the time he genuinely believed the girls had passed – despite the fact two other teachers who remarked the same papers were clear the pupils had failed.

The panel determined that Mr Shield’s conduct was fundamentally incompatible with being a registered teacher and removed him from the register for three months.

The official report stated his conduct fell significantly short of the standards expected of a registered teacher and that Mr Shields was unfit to teach.

However, panel members accepted that, prior to the allegations of this case, Mr Shields was held in high regard by colleagues and pupils, and unlikely to repeat such conduct.

Although ordered to be struck from the register, he is permitted to reapply for restoration in three months. Mr Shields has 28 days in which to appeal.

A spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council told The Southern this week: “This matter was fully investigated by the council and appropriate action was taken. We cannot comment further on an individual case.”