Superhead ‘knew’ of changes to records

An award-winning superhead honoured by the Queen for transforming a failing school allegedly knew staff were altering pupil records to boost GCSE pass rates, a disciplinary hearing was told.

Dame Mo Brennan
Dame Mo Brennan

Dame Mo Brennan helped Hillcrest High School in Netherton, Dudley, out of special measures in 2002 with Ofsted inspectors later classing it “outstanding”.

Awarded the title of Dame in 2005 for her work, she is currently head at Barr Beacon School in Aldridge.

She appeared in front of a Teaching Agency professional conduct panel in Coventry yesterday with teachers Shelley Derham and Linda Westwood. All face charges of unacceptable professional conduct.

The hearing was told members of staff at Hillcrest were allegedly asked by Derham and Westwood to make alterations to the records.

Teaching Agency presenting officer, Bradley Albuery, claimed evidence linked the pair to the “deliberate” misrecording to “pretend attendance was better than it was” and boost perceptions of Hillcrest.

He said GCSE figures were also distorted from 2004 and 2007 by between two to four per cent showing an “inflation” of results.

“It is fanciful to suppose that this headteacher did not know what was going on in her school,” Mr Albuery said. “The evidence suggests these were not occasional errors by teachers. The evidence provides evidence of widescale inappropriate changes.

“In fact it is true that these three teachers were seen as the reason that the school went from failing to successful, and it was for this Maureen Brennan was made a Dame.”

Dame Brennan also faces an allegation of failing to ensure pupils received a statutory level of education.

The hearing was told how fraud police launched an investigation in 2007 but no charges were brought.

All three deny unacceptable professional conduct.

The hearing continues.