Teacher banned over bogus qualification claims

English teacher found to have deceived two schools

Mark Smulian


A teacher has been banned from the profession for at least four years for falsifying her qualifications.

Sarah-Jane Yates was found to have deceived both the school at which she worked and another to which she applied for a post.

A professional conduct panel of the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) said in its decision notice that a four-year wait before she could apply for re-admission – rather than the more common two years – was needed “given the panel’s current understanding of Ms Yates’ lack of awareness”.

Ms Yates was taken on as an unqualified teacher by Erith School, in Bexley, in 2014.

The panel found that she later secured a promotion when she provided false and/or misleading information by suggesting that she had passed her skills tests and providing a document which suggested she had gained qualified teacher status (QTS).

It also found that in 2017 Ms Yates applied for a post at Sedgehill School, in Lewisham, and her application form said she had QTS, but this proved not to be the case when the school checked with the TRA.

Ms Yates, who did not attend the hearing and was not represented, denied the allegations and denied being guilty of unacceptable professional conduct or bringing the profession into disrepute. 

She had alleged in advance of the hearing that she took her test with the provider Pearson in Sidcup and was subsequently informed via email that she had qualified status but was not given the relevant certificate.

Erith's human resources officer later “signed a copy of what appears to be a QTS certificate in respect of Ms Yates”.

The panel noted it "cannot be certain of the provenance" of this document. 

When she applied to Sedgehill it offered her the position of head of English, but later raised concerns about information she presented.

On checking with the TRA, it found Ms Yates never completed her initial training. She subsequently gained qualified teacher status in September 2017.

The panel concluded: “After reviewing the evidence the panel found that Ms Yates was dishonest and that an ordinary honest person would also deem her behaviour as dishonest”.

It noted as an example “her assertion on 30 June, within the application form to Sedgehill School, that she had QTS when she had very recently been informed by the TRA that she did not have this status”.

It said Ms Yates’ behaviour amounted to unacceptable professional conduct and might bring the profession into disrepute. Ms Yates has since left Erith School.

The prohibition and four-year waiting period were agreed by Department for Education decision-maker Alan Meyrick.

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Mark Smulian

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