Head told colleague to falsify records of fire drills during Ofsted inspection

CREDIT: This story was first seen in TES

A former primary school headteacher who asked a colleague to create false records of fire drills during an Ofsted inspection has been allowed to continue teaching, TES reports.

Catherine Lloyd was found guilty of “unacceptable professional misconduct” and bringing the profession into disrepute for falsifying a date on a meeting note and asking for a fire drill record to be falsified.

However, a National College for Teaching and Leadership panel decided against striking her off because it would “clearly deprive the public of her contribution to the profession”.

Ms Lloyd started working as headteacher at Knottingley St. Botolph’s C of E Academy in West Yorkshire in September 2014.

In May 2016, a parent made a verbal complaint to Ms Lloyd, alleging that a teacher had prodded or tapped a child. She failed to adequately investigate the complaint and falsified notes of a meeting with the teacher involved, the panel heard.

She did not then speak with the teacher concerned until three weeks after the allegation. And then when she did meet the teacher, she falsified the date on the meeting note.

During this month, Ofsted undertook an inspection of the school and requested to see the school’s fire drill records. Fire drills had not taken place each term, so Ms Lloyd asked the school’s business manager to falsify records to wrongly indicate that they had.

Following an internal disciplinary investigation and hearing, Ms Lloyd was dismissed from the school.

The panel concluded that Ms Lloyd’s actions were in response to a “great deal of pressure” that she felt during her first Ofsted inspection as a headteacher.

The panel heard evidence that the inspection was particularly difficult for a number of reasons and that Mrs Lloyd was dealing with several other serious issues at the school at the time.

They found that her dishonesty appeared to be “a one-off reaction” to the pressure under which she found herself during the Ofsted inspection.

While Ms Lloyd was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct, the panel decided against recommending a prohibition order – a decision the education secretary’s representative accepted.

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The panel had concluded that there was a “strong public interest” in retaining Ms Lloyd in the profession as it had heard compelling evidence that she was a “very talented teacher and an asset to the profession.”

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