Appointing fraudulent teacher an anomaly’
Bermuda High School for Girls has shared further incriminating details with parents about the teacher who was removed from the institution for falsifying his credentials, references and employment records. The school’s principal, Linda Parker, described the recruitment of Scott Brookes, who has been banned from teaching in Britain for professional misconduct, as “an anomaly in BHS’s history”, saying it will add “another layer of vetting to our already comprehensive process”.
Mr Brookes, who previously went by the name of Paul David Adams, was found guilty by the General Teaching Council for Wales in 2015 of five allegations of misconduct.
They included falsifying the exam grades of Year 10 pupils and providing inaccurate exam grades to Year 11 pupils for their GCSE mock maths exam papers, as reported in several regional newspapers in Britain.
BHS denies a report by a source close to the school that he falsified grades for his students in Bermuda.
After questions by this newspaper, Ms Parker e-mailed parents today about the secondary science and chemistry teacher, whom the school suspended and had escorted off the island in November on discovering his actions.
Ms Parker originally released a brief statement to parents in November, referring only to Mr Brookes providing “false declarations” and “irregularities in his employment records”.
Asked for details at that time by this newspaper, the principal would only confirm that a Mr Brookes was no longer employed at the school, that the school “does not publicly comment on human resources matters” and that “BHS requires the highest professional standards for all of its teachers”.
Revealed in her latest statement was that Mr Brookes legally changed his name by deed poll after reported incidents in schools in which he worked in Wales and England. Ms Parker explained that BHS had used the employment agency TIC Recruitment to employ the teacher, who was using his new legal name.
“While Scott Brookes had been reported to Welsh educational authorities in June 2016 for falsifying his CV, this report remained local,” Ms Parker said. “As a result, background checks conducted by the recruiting agency, and background and police checks conducted by BHS during the vetting process, revealed nothing untoward about Mr Brookes.
“As a result, he began his employment with BHS in September 2016.”
Ms Parker revealed that concerns arose in November, when the school was repeatedly contacted by Mr Brookes’s landlord, claiming that he had not paid his rent, and when it was discovered that he had lied about his whereabouts while taking an “unauthorised leave of absence”.
Ms Parker added: “I met with Mr Brookes at the end of November and confronted him with my evidence of his deception. During this meeting, he admitted to falsifying his references. I immediately suspended him pending further investigations and then summarily dismissed him. I alerted the Department of Immigration and arranged for a security guard to accompany him as he cleared out his office at BHS of personal effects.
“The security guard also accompanied Mr Brookes to the airport to ensure that he boarded the British Airways flight back to the UK. Additionally, I alerted the appropriate UK educational authorities about Paul Adams’s/Scott Brookes’s fraudulent documents and his new identity.”
Ms Parker said that Mr Brookes had managed to deceive schools in other jurisdictions using his “duplicity”.
She added: “This regrettable incident is a distinct anomaly in BHS’s history. During my 10-year tenure as Head of School, and as far back as I have been able to determine, BHS has never employed a teacher, at any level, who falsified his or her credentials, educational records or references.
“BHS rarely uses a recruitment agency, but we had difficulty in filling this particular position. We reached out to an agency that came highly recommended by two schools in Bermuda which had successfully used its services.
“I would like to note that background checks and police checks are carried out on all teachers at BHS, as a matter of course, and were done so in this case. It is unusual for BHS to use a recruitment agency but under the circumstances, we felt such use was warranted. The checks conducted by the agency and by BHS revealed nothing of concern.”
A well-placed source close to BHS claimed that some BHS students were left “playing catch-up” after Mr Brookes gave students grades without testing them — a claim the school has denied. The source told this newspaper: “He also provided false grades to BHS students despite not having given them a test. Subsequently, the grades had to be removed from the term one reports after complaints from students and parents. With term two beginning January 4, the affected students have fallen behind in the curriculum, through no fault of their own, and now have the pressure of trying to catch up.”
Ms Parker responded: “We had received no complaints from anyone about his teaching or behaviour at school.
“Upon his dismissal, all grades and student-performance assessment that Mr Brookes conducted were reviewed for accuracy by our Head of Secondary and Science staff. There is no indication that the students taught by Mr Brookes are behind in their studies.”
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