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Committed teacher forged travel claims

A headteacher who made false travel claims and forged the signature of her chair of governors has been told she will not be able to return to work until doctors say she is well enough.

Elizabeth Morris was suspended from the Pynes infant and nursery school in Bideford, Devon, after signing the name of David Brenton, the chair of governors, on a travel claim form.

The General Teaching Council for England said this week that her actions amounted to "unacceptable professional conduct".

Liz Paver, chair of the panel, said she was "mindful of the stressful circumstances" under which Mrs Morris had acted and her long-term ill-health. In June the GTCE heard how the head had admitted making two false travel claims but she said it was due to "negligence not dishonesty".

Wayne Beard, representing Mrs Morris, said she was "a committed and hard-working teacher, dedicating her life to improving standards".

"She will never teach again - the only thing she wants to leave here with is her honesty and dignity intact."

Mr Beard claimed the chair of governors had told Mrs Morris to sign a form in his name herself.

At a hearing in September, the headteacher said that Mr Brenton had intimidated her in her office, often coming into school unannounced to quiz her about different matters and watching her at work.

She said he constantly went to the local authority behind her back.

Mrs Morris said that Mr Brenton had also told her to sign documents on his behalf, as he did not like paperwork.

She can appeal within 28 days.

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