A cheating teacher who completed students’ work and then passed it off as their own to an exam board has been banned from the classroom for life.
Vincent Usher submitted more than 30 ‘strikingly similar’ assignments in May 2016 while teaching a unit of the Hair and Beauty Course at Kenton School, a disciplinary panel has heard.
An investigation was launched after the examination body, the Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT), contacted the school to raise concerns.
Vincent Usher has been banned for teaching for life after a panel found he had submitted 30 ‘striking similar’ assignments when teaching a Hair and Beauty Course at Kenton School in Newcastle
A number of disappointed students did not receive the qualifications they were hoping for, as the VTCT rejected their assignments due to Mr Usher’s actions.
Now Kenton School’s Principal Sarah Holmes-Carne has slammed Mr Usher for causing ‘immeasurable distress’ to students due to ‘assuming they couldn’t complete the course to their potential’.
A National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) panel heard that the assignments were on design ideas from one of a series of films – Big Business, Mannequin, Footloose or Pretty in Pink.
A report of the hearing said that after a search of the Year 11 IT files, there were only four students with any files relating to the Hair and Beauty Design Brief assignments in their folders, while five students said they had not even seen the assignments or the films themselves.
An IT technician who examined the school’s network confirmed that Mr Usher was the author of the files which had been submitted to the examining body.
He also uploaded documents on behalf of 44 students and submitted the work to VTCT on May 9 2016.
The NCTL report said: ‘Whilst the images attached to the different pieces varied, the vast majority of the assignments were identical in structure and format, and the wording of these was again strikingly similar.
‘For example, the sources referred to internet hyperlinks which were identical in format and content for each film.’
Mr Usher’s case was that he had helped students by circulating wording and templates for their use with the proviso that they must not copy the templates.
The report said: ‘Mr Usher implies that the students ignored his instructions and simply submitted the work he had copied to them all.’
But the panel found it was more likely that ‘some 38 of the 41 assignments scrutinised by the panel were completed by Mr Usher without any input from the pupils themselves’.
They added: ‘The panel was satisfied that Mr Usher had completed work on behalf of students and was therefore guilty of engaging in the maladministration of Unit UV21583.’
Mr Usher was hit with a lifetime classroom ban.
Their ruling said: ‘In this case, Mr Usher has completed work on behalf of students and passed this off as their own work when this was not the case.
‘Such actions undermine confidence in the education system. Mr Usher’s actions resulted in a large number of students not receiving qualifications and thus had a detrimental effect on learners and the reputation of the school.
‘The panel, therefore, finds that Mr Usher’s actions constitute conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.’
Kenton School Principal Sarah Holmes-Carne said: ‘We are happy with the NCTL ruling on Vince Usher.
‘Mr Usher demonstrated the lowest of expectations by conducting the malpractice, he assumed that Kenton Students couldn’t complete the course to their potential without his malpractice.
‘The distress he caused to the hardworking students involved and their parents who trusted the school with their child’s education in Hair and Beauty is immeasurable.
‘His actions let down the students, their parents and the reputation of the teaching profession.’