London - A primary school teacher killed herself after she was caught sharing exam questions with a friend at another school.
Katie Walsh, 34, managed to find out details of the SATs children were due to take and passed them on.
But she was devastated to learn the teacher friend had been caught and sacked – and had revealed her source.
Fearing she might lose her job, and her house if she couldn’t pay the mortgage, Miss Walsh hanged herself at her home.
An inquest in Norwich heard that Miss Walsh, who taught Year 5 pupils, had managed to find out what was in the standard assessment tests. It wasn’t explained how she made the discovery, although SATs papers are posted to schools by recorded delivery around two weeks before pupils sit them in May.
Miss Walsh’s father Denis, 66, said she felt it was ‘likely’ she would lose her job at St Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic School in the city.
He said he had gone to his daughter’s home in the village of Costessey on May 18 after a friend had received a concerning message during the night saying she ‘loved them very much’.
She had called in sick and Mr Walsh said: ‘My wife had been trying to contact Katie but she was not answering.’
He said he ‘screamed out her name and held her’ and was ‘hysterical and in shock’ when he found her. He added: ‘She left a handwritten note on the bed and told me not to blame myself.’
In another note, left on her iPad, she apologised to her family and friends, saying: ‘I know what I have done is going to hurt many people but I feel like this is all I can do. Bear in mind, I was massively depressed and feeling like this before.’
Norfolk Coroner’s Court heard Miss Walsh had battled with depression for years and had tried to take her own life before.
Her father said: ‘The issue she had at work tipped her over the edge. She was also about to lose her driving licence because she had been caught speeding and she was worried about paying her mortgage if she lost her job.’
Recording a verdict of suicide, senior coroner Jacqueline Lake said: ‘Miss Walsh did have a history of depression and had made attempts to end her life previously. Concerns about her work were playing on her mind and she had been drinking alcohol before her death.
‘In some cases, that does affect someone’s intention. But leaving handwritten and electronic notes suggests this was what she intended.’ Miss Walsh, who joined the school as a Year 3 teacher in 2013, had moved to Year 5 earlier this year.
She had appeared as a contestant on Channel 4 game show Deal or No Deal in 2008 – although she was one of the unlucky ones who came away with just a penny in prize money. A spokesman for the school said: ‘It is a tragic personal incident and our thoughts are with Miss Walsh’s family and friends.’
Teachers’ unions have complained that SATs put staff and pupils under great pressure.
Last year the Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion to ‘explore a possible boycott of all tests at primary level’.
Miss Walsh’s family have requested donations in her memory to be made to mental health charity YoungMinds.