Primary school head, 40, and his teacher lover, 26, quit over SATs

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A primary head and his 26-year-old teacher lover have quit their posts after an “upsetting” SAT scandal. Mike Watt, 40, the headteacher at Colburn Primary School in North Yorkshire, left his wife of 15 years and struck up a relationship with Emma Kelly, 26, whose class was engulfed in an examination scandal. The school’s year six pupils had some of their SAT scores annulled after it emerged the administration process failed to “serve the best interests of the school”.

School watchdogs launched an investigation following claims that students in Ms Kelly’s class were told they could ask for help once “SATs police” had left.

According to the Yorkshire Post, investigators from the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) interviewed children over the summer holidays regarding the two teachers’ assessment conduct.

They denied wrongdoing during a recent misconduct hearing conducted by the agency.

The teachers claimed they had followed assessment guidance while the class took their end-of-year exams.

But the misconduct panel ultimately found that the couple should receive indefinite classroom bans as there was a “deliberate failure to adhere to the guidance”.

TRA investigators found “significant and striking similarities” in assessment pieces written by Ms Kelly’s pupils and one the teacher penned herself.

One of the pupils interviewed said that, while in class, their ideas were dismissed in favour of model examples.

They said Ms Kelly would “sometimes tell me to stop and look at the example of the board and use that”.

The agency ruled that the teachers could have “personally gained” from their bid to influence test results.

Benefits cited included “financial gain, enhanced reputation and career progression”.

The rulings said there was an “expectation” teachers would not “tamper with pupil’s assessment outcomes”.

They judged that such interference would “amount to dishonesty”.

Angie Dale, the chair of governors at Colburn primary school, said the incident was an “upsetting development” for the school.

But she said the council was “determined to continue to take appropriate actions and change processes in school to ensure the integrity of future assessments”.

Now banned from teaching, Mr Watt and Ms Kelly have resigned from the school.

The teachers, who are now reportedly engaged, must now wait four years, until 2026, before they can apply to have their bans overturned.

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