Belfast Telegraph

Man quizzed over harassment letters sent to staff at Northern Ireland school

'The BBC reported that a man was arrested on September 24 on suspicion of offences including harassment and intimidation. He has since been released on bail pending further inquiries' (stock photo)
'The BBC reported that a man was arrested on September 24 on suspicion of offences including harassment and intimidation. He has since been released on bail pending further inquiries' (stock photo)
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

A man has been arrested as part of an investigation into "letters of harassment" sent to staff at a Northern Ireland school.

It follows allegations of cheating in GCSE examinations at St Patrick's High School in Keady, Co Armagh.

The BBC reported that a man was arrested on September 24 on suspicion of offences including harassment and intimidation. He has since been released on bail pending further inquiries.

Letters were sent to organisations outside the school claiming to come from staff, including the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA).

The CCEA previously discovered evidence of exam "malpractice" at St Patrick's.

The BBC has reported that a total of 16 staff faced sanctions following an investigation - nine teachers and seven classroom assistants.

It is understood that 14 staff faced sanctions related to the monitoring of exams and assessments.

The CCEA said that it did not comment on individual malpractice cases, but added that it works to ensure "no learner is advantaged or disadvantaged".

Dr Eoghan Fearon, the chairman of the St Patrick's High School governors, 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," the letter read.

"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."

Gerard Campbell, chief executive of the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools, 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."

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