May 4, 2023 2.00 pm This story is over 10 months old

Scunthorpe teacher banned for cheating to inflate students’ grades

He was an experienced and respected teacher

A former North Lincolnshire teacher has been banned from the classroom after unfairly boosting pupils’ grades.

Liam Browne, 34, was the Sports Science course leader at Melior Community Academy in Scunthorpe.

A hearing by the Teaching Regulation Agency last month heard that he had unfairly given students help and given marks which were ‘far outside the reasonable range’.

A panel found he significantly inflated coursework grades during the 2020-21 academic year.

When 28 papers were remarked by other teachers, all but one came back lower.

“The marks awarded by Mr Browne were far outside any reasonable range where professional opinions may legitimately differ,” the TRA’s report says.

There was also a repeated pattern of misconduct during the 2018-19 academic year.

A panel found that Mr Browne provided templates for coursework to three pupils, contrary to exam rules, giving them an unfair advantage.

The experienced teacher shared completed coursework with other pupils. While students are allowed to view previous examples, they shouldn’t have unrestricted access.

In addition, he allowed pupils to modify their coursework after the submission deadline, but before they had been sent to the exam boards. The panel heard that this allowed them to take on board moderator’s feedback and unfairly improve their grades.

The panel didn’t find his claims that the breaches were due to “simple errors or misunderstandings” to be credible.

He also claimed that his actions were approved by the senior leadership team.

“He was an experienced teacher and would have known about the restrictions on providing information such as model answers, templates and modifying post- submission work and inflating grades,” the report concluded.

It found that his dishonesty brought the teaching profession into disrepute, and had no choice but to ban him for teaching indefinitely, with a four year review. 

A colleague at the Academy submitted a character reference, describing him as ‘respected’ with a ‘genuine passion’ for the subject.

“He has formed excellent positive relationships with staff and students, based on mutual respect,” it said.

“He is respected by his peers as he has proved his credibility through the successful completion of courses within his faculty and because of his genuine passion to ensure the pupils are given every opportunity to achieve their potential.”

Mr Browne did not attend the TRA hearing. 

A spokesperson for the academy said: “The report relates to a former member of staff who left our employment more than two years ago.

“Melior Academy has a strong record of maintaining and upholding the integrity of examinations and assessments.”

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