The Chief Executive of Silver Birch Academy, Patricia Davies, ‘ordered schools to cheat in SATs tests’, a former head teacher told Panorama.
In a programme to be aired tonight at 20.30, former head Suzanne Barham said she had been ordered to change test scores at three Silver Birch schools in 2017. She told the BBC that pupils in another school were given answers during the tests. She complied because she was afraid of losing her job.
Panorama also spoke to parents at Longshaw Primary School, one of Silver Birch’s four primary schools, who described how children came out of school after SATs talking about the help they’d been given. The Standards and Testing Agency investigated but let the results stand.
Silver Birch Academy Trust has been the centre of controversy for some years because of financial irregularities. It was eventually sent a financial notice to improve in June 2018. Davies resigned in October after Silver Birtch was taken over by new trustees. The new board found the trust was nearly insolvent.
All of the schools have been rebrokered and the trust will be dissolved.
Incredibly, Silver Birch Academy Trust still appears on list of approved academy sponsors, recently updated on 22 March.
Panorama's investigation will be available online shortly after broadcast.
ADDENDUM 22.47 Panorama also found that Patricia Davies employed members of her family in the trust. She also authorised the refurbishment of a caretaker's house which she then allowed her daughter to live in it rent free.