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Woman admits faking passport and tax details

A Ghanaian teacher who worked in England illegally using a false passport and National Insurance numbers has been banned from teaching for two years.

Grace Odoom, formerly of Tidemill school in Lewisham, south London, was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by England's General Teaching Council.

Mrs Odoom, who was not present or represented at the hearing in Birmingham on Tuesday, admitted the charges in a letter to the GTC and will not be able to apply to re-register as a teacher for two years.

The ruling means that she cannot work in a state school. Teachers in academies and private schools do not need to be registered with the GTC.

In a letter read out to the hearing, Mrs Odoom admitted that her actions were not justifiable but asked the council to be compassionate.

"I apologise to my employers and I will apologise to the headteacher if it is deemed necessary," she wrote. "I wish to be allowed to carry on working as a teacher as I need to earn to support my young family."

But the GTC deemed her actions amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.

It heard that she started to work at Tidemill in September 2001 using a false passport and NI number and without Home Office authority.

A fraud investigator from Lewisham council began a background check on Mrs Odoom in July 2004, but the investigation was dropped as she resigned.

A separate investigation was launched in November 2004, after she returned to the school to work as a supply teacher through a company called Strategic Business Solutions UK.

The investigation revealed that Mrs Odoom had used a fake passport and NI number, which belonged to a Dutch woman, when she initially applied for her position at the school.

Bradley Albuery, presenting officer, said: "The passport.. stated that she was born in the Netherlands on August 21 1965.

"On investigation it turned out that the passport had been reported stolen on November 30 1999 and in fact Mrs Odoom was from Ghana."

Mrs Odoom used an NI number belonging to a dead woman from Rochester when she applied to Strategic Business Solutions UK and on her tax notice to the Inland Revenue.

She had applied to the Home Office for residency but was working while she had only a visitor's visa. Mrs Odoom has since been granted a visa which allows her to work in Britain until January 1, 2006.

Barbara Hibbert, chair of the GTC committee, said: "Miss Odoom deliberately deceived the school... her conduct is fundamentally incompatible with being a registered teacher."

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