Teachers at a high-performing East London academy claim they witnessed exams and coursework being marked falsely, the BBC reports.

Tutors at Green Spring Academy say there was a ‘climate of intimidation and fear’ at the school in Shoreditch, and ‘dishonesty was the main ingredient’.

The school’s head teacher, Mark Keary, was suspended in February over the exam-fixing allegations.

The school is run by Green Spring Education Trust, who said they acted robustly in dealing with the claims.

Other staff members were suspended last month, along with Mr. Keary, after an investigation into reported misconduct uncovered some ‘irregularities’ relating to some exams.

The Department for Education said in a statement that exam malpractice had been identified at the school, and disciplinary action had been taken.

Mr. Keary, whose reported salary was £220,000 per year, did not respond to comment requests from the BBC. He became head teacher in 2006, when the school was still Bethnal Green Technology College. It transformed into an academy in 2012.

GCSE results had gone from being among the worst in the country to making the academy one of the top-performing schools nationally.

In its latest results it recorded an 83% A-C pupil pass rate for GCSE English and maths.

The BBC spoke to six former teachers at the school, including Jahangir Alam, who left the school in 2012, shortly after it became an academy.

Alam said:

“It became like an exam-production factory. Everything was geared toward the exam and it really didn’t matter how you got the result. On a few occasions I have seen malpractice with coursework, meaning inflated coursework marks.”

John McKelvey, who retired after many years at the school, alleged there was a “climate of intimidation and fear”.

McKelvey commented:

“People would come into work one morning and, presumably, they were asked to leave and escorted from the premises.

“This happened to a large number of people, at least 10 that I know personally. This was very upsetting. People were watching their backs.”

He added:

“I would say it would be extremely difficult to get those kind of [GCSE grade] percentages from the student intake as I remember it; very difficult indeed.”

In a statement, Green Spring Academy said:

“The independent investigation commissioned by the trust board has now concluded and appropriate action is being taken which cannot be discussed for reasons of confidentiality.

Working with key authorities, including the DfE, the trust board has acted robustly and with integrity in dealing with the allegations made.”