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Wymondham College had “culture of cheating” in A-levels and GCSEs, tribunal told

PUBLISHED: 15:42 11 October 2016 | UPDATED: 15:42 11 October 2016

Wymondham College principal Jonathan Taylor.

Wymondham College principal Jonathan Taylor.

© Nick Dunmur 2012

The principal of a boarding school made aware of allegations of cheating in his school’s ICT department declined to investigate the claims himself, a tribunal has heard.

Jonathan Taylor, principal of Wymondham College, was alerted to a “culture of cheating” in the GSCE and A-level ICT and computer sciences (CS) department in October 2015, involving students having up to double the prescribed amount of time for controlled assessments, and issues around grading and teachers “tweaking” coursework.

However Mr Taylor, who had been principal for a year at the time, today told an employment tribunal in Bury St Edmunds that he did not investigate the claims himself, instead relying on the conclusions of an internal investigation by ICT staff and reports from two external investigators.

The concerns were raised by director of E-learning at the college, Ashrad Ali, who believes his dismissal in December 2015 was directly related to his whistleblowing.

However, the tribunal heard evidence from other members of the ICT department, including its director Kim Williams, who claimed Mr Ali’s behaviour was “rude” and “unapproachable”.

Edward Kemp, representing the school, claimed Mr Ali was using allegations of racism to explain the rift between him and his colleagues, but Judge George Sigworth said these claims would not be considered in his conclusion.

Responding, Mr Ali said: “I loved that school, I thought it was fantastic, but the kind of people I was working with – uh-uh.”

The tribunal also heard evidence from Syd Payne, another member of ICT staff at the school, who corroborated Mr Ali’s claims of cheating within the department.

In a press statement, Mr Taylor said: “We vigorously deny the allegations and are confident that the tribunal will find in our favour. We ensure that all examination and other assessed work is invigilated and marked to the highest standards, and in accordance with the examination board guidance.

“We are extremely proud of the hard work of our students and of the academic accomplishments they justifiably achieve.”

The tribunal continues.

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