News ID: 236181
Published: 0649 GMT December 21, 2018

Man arrested in Northern Ireland over sending 'harassment' letters

Man arrested in Northern Ireland over sending 'harassment' letters

A man was arrested during a police investigation into "letters of harassment" sent to staff at a County Armagh, Northern Ireland, school, BBC learned.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) confirmed he was arrested on September 24 on suspicion of offenses including harassment and intimidation.

He has since been released on bail pending further inquiries.

Letters purporting to come from some staff at St. Patrick's High School in Keady were also sent to others not employed by the school.


'Exam cheating'


For instance, a threat was also made in writing to a staff member at Northern Ireland's exams body, the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA).

A CCEA investigation had previously found evidence of exam cheating at the school.

BBC understood that 16 staff at the school had potentially faced sanctions from CCEA over exam malpractice — nine teachers and seven classroom assistants.

However, it is understood that 14 staff eventually received sanctions regarding the monitoring of exams and assessment — the majority from the lower end of the sanctions scale.

Sanctions can include a written warning, further training or conditions being applied to future involvement in exams.

It is unclear how many of the 14 staff who received sanctions were teachers and how many were classroom assistants.

It is up to the school's board of governors if any will face disciplinary action.

CCEA said it did not comment on individual malpractice cases.

"As part of any examination series, CCEA works with centers and monitors examination arrangements in place to ensure that no learner is advantaged or disadvantaged," a spokesperson said.

"We will continue monitoring arrangements until we are satisfied."

The chair of the St. Patrick's High School's governors, Dr. Eoghan Fearon wrote to parents of pupils on Thursday to tell them that arrangements for exams at the school had been updated.

"The principal, Dr. Moore, will continue to work very closely with CCEA and the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) to ensure the complete integrity of all our public examination processes and procedures," he said.

"We want to thank you the parents and guardians of our pupils for your patience and understanding during what has been a difficult time for our school community."

CCMS chief executive, Gerard Campbell, said the school had made substantial progress over the past year.

"CCMS welcomes the open and engaging way in which the governors, leadership and staff of St. Patrick's High School have worked together to address the issues identified by CCEA in its review," he said.

"It is important to pay tribute to the commitment of the staff who have worked so hard to deliver such significant progress over the past year."



Resource: BBC
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