Former education boss admits falsifying data on teacher numbers

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A former education chief has admitted falsifying data on teacher numbers in order to meet targets set by the Scottish Government.

Andrew Sutherland resigned from his role as executive director of education at North Lanarkshire Council in 2016 amid an investigation into allegations that he submitted inaccurate information on the pupil-to-teacher ratio at schools in the area.

The data was submitted to the Scottish Government between September and November in 2014 for the annual census.

A General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) panel found Mr Sutherland had instructed colleagues to make changes to the data in the statistical return in order to present the ratio as lower than it had been – knowing that the lower figure would be inaccurate.

The council’s pupil-to-teacher ratio in 2014 was anticipated to be higher than it was in the 2013 figure and would not have met the Government target.

Failure to meet the target would have resulted in the council being potentially liable to a significant fine.

The panel stated Mr Sutherland’s intention had been to save the council from embarrassment and to avoid the penalty.

It heard he accepts the seriousness of the allegation and noted he has shown remorse for his actions.

Mr Sutherland is now employed as director of education and early years at Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council in Greater Manchester.

In their written ruling, the GTCS said: “The conduct constituted an abuse of a position of trust. However, harm had not been caused to any pupil.

“The teacher had admitted the misconduct. Further, the teacher had reflected on the matter, had shown genuine remorse and had taken steps to remediate. In particular, he had been candid with his present employer.

“The issue represented an isolated incident and there had been no repetition since, nor did the panel consider that there was a risk of recurrence. The panel also reflected upon the references provided in relation to the teacher.”

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