Probe finds 'evidence' of cheating by staff at Keady school

St Patrick's High School in Keady

TWO external principals will oversee summer exams at a Co Armagh school after an investigation found evidence of cheating by staff.

An independent probe looked at allegations of malpractice at St Patrick's High School in Keady.

This centred around GCSE English and maths papers in summer 2017.

The all-abilities St Patrick's is the north's top-performing secondary school.

This month, principal Pat McGuckian said she would step down in the summer. She stressed her decision was due to 16 months of harassment from anonymous letters, not because of the malpractice probe.

Now, the school's governing body has written to parents and staff to say it has received findings and recommendations following the investigation.

Chairman Brian Hughes wrote that they "point to evidence of malpractice in the conduct of public examinations involving a number of staff members across exam areas and assessment types".

"We do understand that pupils, parents and staff will be concerned by this and we wanted to assure you that we are proactively managing the situation," he wrote

"All necessary arrangements will be made to address the outcomes of the investigation."

The school put in place additional arrangements for the supervision of pupils entitled to access arrangements of exams taken in January this year. It is understood this extra supervision was a `stop-gap' designed to give confidence to the examinations processes while the investigation was underway.

It has since been suggested that there will be a slump in performance in some modules when the January results are made public.

Two principals - Liam Cunningham from St Columbanus'sCollege in Bangor and Jonny Brady from St Killian's College, Carnlough - will manage the school until the end of the academic year.

The Council for Catholic Maintained Schools said that the pair would work with the governors on a review of existing practice and develop an action plan to ensure confidence in the upcoming round of exams.

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