“Naive and stupid” teacher admits letting students copy essay for SQA

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A “NAIVE and stupid” teacher has admitted letting two students copy an essay during a history assessment.

Stewart Findlay was trying to help the struggling students get their National 5 qualification but the move could cost him his career.

A disciplinary hearing was told the history teacher from Morgan Academy, Dundee, gave the pupils a “draft essay” for the test, which contributed 25% of the final marks.

The teacher said he did it wanting to help the struggling pupils

But it was later noticed that the two exam papers were virtually identical and an investigation was launched.

Mr Findlay, 27, has admitted providing undue assistance to two pupils during a Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) National 5 history assessment between March and June 2015.

The charge adds that in doing so he was “dishonest”. Mr Findlay, a committee member of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, also admits his fitness to teach is impaired but denies that he is unfit to teach.

At a hearing of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) in Edinburgh, it emerged that the two pupils were the lowest performers in the class.

Christopher Burton, acting principal head of history at the school, said: “In my professional opinion Mr Findlay was young and inexperienced and could be quite naive.

“After reading the essays, similarities became glaringly obvious. 11 out of the 12 paragraphs were identical in the two candidates essays.”

Mr Burton said “Candidate Two” told him she had the draft essay in front of her and was told by Mr Findlay she could have it “because she was nervous”.

Stephen Shaw, Rector at Morgan Academy, said the teacher was given a formal written warning over the incident.

Mr Findlay told the hearing: “I realise that was naive and stupid on my part, all I wanted was the best for the pupils. It has been the most embarrassing moment of my professional career.

“I am not a dishonest person, it was a gross error of judgement. It wasn’t for personal gain, I did it wanting to help the candidates.”

The GTCS panel must now decide if Mr Findlay is unfit to teach. If they make that finding he could be struck off.

The hearing continues.

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