Council reprieve over false sickness claims

14th July 2006 at 01:00
A primary teacher who claimed in a job application that she had taken one day off sick that year, when in fact she had taken 73, has been allowed to remain on the teaching register by England's General Teaching Council.

Nicola Fothergill made the claim when applying for a post at Owton Manor primary, Hartlepool. She told the GTC committee that she wanted to change jobs in 2004, because she had been under stress at her school, Chandlers Ridge, in Middlesbrough.

"It has never happened before and it will never happen again. I feel very embarrassed," said Mrs Fothergill.

She told the GTC, sitting in Birmingham this week, that she had followed the advice of Lynne Baron, a school secretary at Chandlers Ridge, who told her not to mention the absences. But, giving evidence, Mrs Baron denied this.

The panel found that Mrs Fothergill's behaviour constituted unacceptable professional conduct and she was given a two-year reprimand, the lowest sanction that the committee can impose.

Christine Green, the committee's chair, said the panel gave her credit because of her relative youth and inexperience, the stress she had been under when she made the application and her subsequent remorse.

It emerged from the hearing that Mrs Fothergill was dismissed from Owton Manor, but no details were given.

Since leaving she has undertaken various supply work.

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