Popular head resigns following exams investigation
9:00am Friday 7th September 2012 in News
A POPULAR headteacher has resigned and SATs results have been scrapped after an investigation was launched into “maladministration” of exam results.
St Bartholomew’s CE Primary School in Westhoughton has been at the centre of a probe by the government’s exam watchdog over the way it “administered” the 2012 Key Stage Two national curriculum tests.
Results of the investigation revealed there had been “maladministration” of the exams sat by Year Six pupils.
Now test results have been scrapped and Gareth Robertshaw has resigned as headteacher after accepting responsibility for the irregularity.
The news was broken to parents, by letter, on the first day of the new term.
Cancelled test results will have no impact on pupils as they have each had a teacher assessment, although it will mean St Bartholomew’s will have no results showing when the primary school league tables are published later this year.
It is expected the school will appear at the bottom of the league tables.
Deputy headteacher, Mark Johns, has been appointed as acting headteacher.
Jayne Caldwell, chairman of governors, said: “Following an investigation by the Standards and Testing Agency, carried out with support from Bolton Council and the Diocese of Manchester, into the school's administration of the 2012 Key Stage 2 SATs, St Bartholomew’s Primary School’s Year Six results have been annulled.
“Mr Robertshaw accepted responsibility for the maladministration and has resigned from his post as headteacher. No pupils, teaching staff or support staff were implicated in any way.
“Parents have been informed, and the secondary schools that affected pupils have moved on to have been made aware. They have also been given the children's Teacher Assessments that will ensure the next stage of their learning continues unaffected.
“The governing body has appointed Mr Johns to take up the position of acting headteacher.
“I have reassured parents that pupils’ education will continue as normal and will not be adversely affected in any way.”
The exact nature of the maladministration has not been revealed by education chiefs, but parents were told it refers to “any acts that could affect the integrity, security or confidentiality” of the national curriculum assessments.
Council bosses insisted they had told parents all they knew in the letter.
A Standards and Testing Agency spokesman said: “The Standards and Testing Agency can confirm an investigation was undertaken at the school and that the school has accepted the recommendations of the maladministration investigation team.
“All allegations are investigated according to the published maladministration investigation procedures.”
Last year school inspectors marked St Bartholomew’s CE Primary school, which has just over 200 pupils, as “good”.
Mr Robertshaw took over the former Westhoughton Parochial School in September, 2008 after it had been placed in special measures by Ofsted.
He was seen as inspirational head for transforming the school while battling cancer.
In December, 2008, Mr Robertshaw was undergoing tests after discovering a lump on his neck, which was later diagnosed as Non-hodgkins lymphoma.
He continued to lead the school despite undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy, taking just 12 days off to battle his illness.
Mr Robertshaw was celebrated nationally after pupils wrote to Noel’s Christmas Presents, nominating him for a special gift.
He was taken on an all-expenses-paid trip to New York, where the drama enthusiast got to perform on Broadway, alongside stars of the hit musical Mary Poppins.
Westhoughton Parochial was founded in 1739. The school’s current site, in The Fairways, dates back 150 years.
It is the second school in Westhoughton to be subject to an investigation into SATs. Last year pupils at Washacre Primary School had their results annulled.
The investigation at Washacre is believed to have centred on how the exams were invigilated.
Even though the probe concerned maths, the board also took the decision to scrap the English results.