RECORD numbers of teachers are being investigated for providing improper levels of coaching to help pupils pass vital qualifications, Scotland’s chief examiner has warned.

Dr Janet Brown, chief executive of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), said evidence had emerged of a growing number of cases of teacher malpractice during 2017/18 exams.

But Glasgow City Council said the authority had no reports of the issue happening in city schools.

The SQA said it was too early to provide figures, but confirmed there was an increase on last year when there were 108 allegations of malpractice, 51 of which were proven. In 2016 there were 18 proven cases.

A spokesman for the council said the authority had had no contact from the SQA about teachers investigated in Glasgow.

If there had been malpractice, he added, it would be treated as a conduct issue and investigated by the council. He said: “We work closely with SQA throughout the year providing support to teachers.”

Typical cases of improper coaching involve pupils being provided with model answers, teachers giving too much feedback on work to be assessed or submitting false marks.

Where teachers are found to have breached the rules the SQA can lower candidate marks or even prevent a school or department from running future courses.

The situation has arisen after the introduction of Curriculum for Excellence, which placed less of an emphasis on the final exam in qualifications such as National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher.

Ms Brown said: “It is our responsibility, and in the interests of fairness and equity for all candidates, to investigate where concerns of malpractice are raised and to maintain the integrity and standards of our qualifications.”

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS teaching union, said deliberate malpractice was unacceptable, but blamed the SQA for poor communications on what was acceptable. He said: “Perhaps rather than threatening a big stick approach, a commitment to support schools around understanding standards would be a more productive route.”