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Ex-fraudster to return to teaching

A secondary teacher who was jailed for conspiring to defraud the European Union over agricultural subsidies will be allowed to continue teaching, England's General Teaching Council has ruled.

Nigel Smith-Keary was found guilty by a jury in December 2003 and later sentenced to 15 months in prison.

But he told the GTC at a hearing in Birmingham: "I want the option to be able to return to teaching. The job satisfaction was considerably greater than what I'm receiving at the moment. Going to prison shouldn't necessarily preclude you from teaching."

The committee heard that Mr Smith-Keary had claimed bogus subsidies from the EU while he ran a flax-processing company.

He taught for one term at Penrice school, Cornwall, and one term at Tretherras school, Newquay, in 2002.

He told the panel: "This court case happened a long time ago. No one ever called my conduct into question in the teaching world."

The GTC panel decided he should not be disqualified and no sanctions were imposed, because it happened before his teaching career began and he had already served a custodial sentence.

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