Maths 'doctor' was a fake

7th May 2004 at 01:00
Inspirational teacher bought PhD certificate on web and used it to apply for job as an interim head. Tara Fawcett reports

A teacher who lied about his qualifications, buying a doctorate over the internet and wearing a fake gown during school ceremonies, has been given a conditional registration order by the General Teaching Council for England.

Michael Eden, of Woking, Surrey, bought the fake certificate in January 2002, after the death of his father.

Governors at Fullbrook school in New Haw, Surrey, called him "doctor" after he told them he had a PhD in maths. Mr Eden also claimed to have a first-class degree in maths when he had only a pass.

His deception was discovered by the outgoing head of de Stafford college in Caterham, Surrey, when he submitted a false CV to provide the school with contact details after being offered the job of interim headteacher.

Mr Eden was recommended for the post by Four S, a development centre which works alongside Surrey council, after a successful period at the troubled Bishop Reindorp school in Guildford.

The GTC heard that he continued to lie about his qualifications when his CV was questioned, saying his PhD details might be hard to trace as the certificate was originally awarded by Roehampton college, which has since merged with Surrey university.

But he later confessed to his lie in an e-mail to Four S, before resigning from Bishop Reindorp and withdrawing his application for the post at de Stafford college.

Steve Clarke, head of Four S, said he was devastated when the man he regarded as an inspirational teacher confessed to the lie, adding that the situation was worsened by his initial denial.

He said that Bishop Reindorp, a struggling Church of England school, was placed in further difficulties because of Mr Eden's behaviour and his subsequent rapid departure.

"Mr Eden's conduct has affected our credibility and relationship with the school profoundly and to this day it has not recovered," said Mr Clarke.

Mr Eden, who has been unable to secure a headship despite 31-years of "excellent" teaching, appeared this week before the GTC charged with stating he had qualifications that he did not possess in the process of being offered a position at de Stafford college.

He has not worked since the incident in June 2003, and the GTC ruled that for the next two years he will have to tell prospective employers his behaviour was deemed unacceptable professional conduct.

Two vicars told members of the council about Mr Eden's passion for education.

The Rev Graham Holliday, chair of governors for Fullbrook school in New Haw, said Mr Eden had given excellent service to the school during 13 years as its deputy head.

The Rev David Adams, supporting consultant of Bishop Reindorp, said Mr Eden had dedicated his time to teaching difficult children and helping struggling teachers and could normally be relied upon to solve problems.

"He touched the lives and careers of many young people and many teachers," he said.

Mr Eden did not give a witness statement to the GTC but John Bardley, teacher representative, said he expressed deep regret for the embarrassment and disruption caused.

Oona Stannard, chair of the GTC committee, said Mr Eden's teaching ability had been taken into account but a conditional registration order was necessary to protect pupils, parents and schools.

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