A former headmaster and a teacher have been banned from the classroom after a panel found they had dishonestly helped children at a North Yorkshire Primary School with Sats tests.

The ex-head at Colburn Community Primary School, near Catterick Garrison, Mike Watt, 44 and former year six teacher Emma Kelly, 29, have both been prohibited from teaching and must wait four years before they can apply for the order to be lifted.

Local authority investigators acting on behalf of the Standards and Testing Agency were called into the school after concerns were raised about key stage two English tests taken in 2018. The pair resigned just before the Christmas holiday of that year.

Parents were upset when the Sats results for some pupils were later annulled. The Teaching Regulation Agency has now held professional conduct panels for both teachers who denied wrongdoing and claimed they were following the assessment guidance.

But the misconduct panel found they should both be banned from the classroom indefinitely, because they had been dishonest and there was “a deliberate failure to adhere to the guidance”.

The panel was shown written work by eight different pupils which showed “significant and striking similarities” to a letter written by Miss Kelly. The similarities included the order and topic of the paragraphs, the structure of the paragraphs, the phrasing, punctuation and vocabulary.

The panel found the pair had passed off guided work as independent pupil work and excessively scaffolded pupil work.

The panel, which has published the investigation, found: “Ordinary decent people would consider Mr Watt's actions dishonest. There is an expectation that teachers do not tamper with pupil's assessment outcomes and that such interference with the assessments would amount to dishonesty.

"The panel did acknowledge that Mr Watt was of previous good character. However, the panel found that Mr Watt had knowingly caused the maladministration of writing assessments to unfairly improve the assessment outcomes for several pupils.”

They also found: “Mr Watt's actions fell below the ethical standards of the teaching profession, and amounted to a lack of integrity.”

During the investigation, the Teaching Regulation Agency interviewed a number of pupils and one claimed that when they came up with their own ideas in class Miss Kelly would “sometimes tell me to stop and look at the example on the board and use that”.

The panel found: “The conduct of Miss Kelly fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession. The findings of misconduct are particularly serious as they include findings of maladministration and dishonesty.”

In its rulings, the TRA said both teachers “could have personally gained” from unfairly improving assessment results, because this could lead to “financial gain, enhanced reputation and career progression”.

Both teachers said they did not accept the findings of the panel.