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Teacher: Harry helped in art exam

Prince Harry
Great Britain

LONDON, England -- Former teachers of Prince Harry at Eton College helped him to cheat at his A-level art exam because he was such a weak student, a sacked former teacher has claimed.

Sarah Forsyth told an employment tribunal panel that Ian Burke, her former department head at the public school west of London, finished boys' painting work for them while chatting about "his pet subjects," betting or football.

Forsyth, who is fighting unfair dismissal, told the panel Monday that the prince, who has just begun officer training at Sandhurst, was considered a "weak" student by teachers.

Forsyth, who worked at Eton until summer 2003, when her contract was not renewed, claims she wrote the text to an AS-Level art coursework journal handed in by the prince the previous year. His application to join the army was dependent on his passing the exam.

In a statement to the tribunal, she also said Burke painted students' work without them being present -- something she said he made no attempt to disguise.

In her statement to the tribunal in Reading, Berkshire, Forsyth, 30, said Burke also finished Harry's work that later featured in newspapers.

Prince Harry and Eton College, which charges more than £22,000 a year ($41,000) strongly deny he was guilty of cheating. Burke also denies finishing pupils' work.

"This is a misrepresentation of a friendly atmosphere in which boys discuss their interest," Burke said in a statement to the tribunal on Monday.

"I do not only speak to boys about betting and football. The suggestion that I finished these two pupils' work is completely untrue."

Forsyth, who is claiming unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination, said Burke was moody and temperamental, shouting at her in front of boys and making unfair criticism.

Facing dismissal from the school, she secretly recorded a conversation with the prince on his way to his A-Level art examination in which she claims Harry confirmed that he had written "about a sentence" of the text to his "expressive project."

Forsyth also told the tribunal that she wrote virtually all the accompanying text for an art project submitted to external examiners by the prince, now 20.

She considered this to be "unethical and probably constituted to cheating," Forsyth said in a statement.

When the case began in October last year -- it was later adjourned -- Forsyth alleged she had been ordered by a school administrator to help the young royal pass his art exam.

The hearing was adjourned until Tuesday.

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