A teacher who at least 10 times falsified about his students' exam results has been allowed to continue teaching.
Duncan John Gittins, who was a physical education teacher at Akaroa Area School near Christchurch, admitted falsely claiming that a colleague at another school had verified his students' results in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA).
The Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal has found that "there were 10 identified incidents of moderation cover sheets being completed falsely, and this demonstrates a pattern of fraudulent behaviour".
"We agree that the respondent's lie in this instance undermined the integrity of the NCEA system. We have no doubt that this action on its own amounted to serious misconduct," the tribunal said.
But it decided not to cancel Gittins' registration, saying: "We trust that he appreciated the seriousness of his conduct and will not be referred again."
Instead, he has been ordered to inform any future employer in the next three years about the tribunal decision, undertake mentoring or guidance programmes in NCEA processes and the teachers' code of ethics, and not to accept any management or sole-charge role until he has completed both programmes.
Gittins came to New Zealand from Britain in 2013 with his NZ-born wife, also a teacher, and secured a two-year contract at Akaroa Area School. His contract ended in 2015 and he was not successful in getting a permanent job at the school.
After he left, external moderators for the NZ Qualifications Authority found that six samples of students' work which Gittins had assessed as passing NCEA were not up to standard.
The school then contacted a teacher at another school who had been named by Gittins as verifying results in 10 cases.
The other teacher said he had offered to verify NCEA results for Gittins but had not in fact been asked to verify any of the 10 cases.
Gittins admitted that his actions were dishonest and wrote letters apologising to the other teacher and the school.
"He said he didn't prioritise his work properly and he took shortcuts," the tribunal said.
"At the end of the year, when he missed out on a permanent role, he was upset and simply wanted to get his paperwork done and leave. He accepts that he has broken trust."
Gittins attended the tribunal hearing in Wellington in January but the tribunal found that his conduct there was "self-centred".
"When [a tribunal member] asked him about apologies he had prepared, he made no mention of the students," it said.
"We were not completely reassured that the respondent had appreciated the enormity of his actions."
It refused Gittins' request for name suppression, saying: "If these proceedings are relevant to an employer, then that is even more reason for publication."
It found that Akaroa Area School had no basis to suspect wrongdoing until NZQA uncovered it, and that the school followed the correct process after Gittins' actions were revealed.