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Ban for teacher who lied about having cancer to get time off work

Malvern Editorial 6th Aug, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

A FORMER Malvern teacher has been banned from the profession after lying about having cancer and being assaulted, to gain time off work.

Gillian Sealey also forged a doctor’s letter to back up her story and sent text messages to her colleagues describing her false battle with the disease, during a 12 month period of deceit while working at Castlemorton Primary School.

The 41-year-old was handed a prohibition order by the Secretary of State for Education barring her from teaching, which she can not apply to overturn until July 29, 2018.

Her deception began in September 2012 when she told staff at the Church Road school, she had been diagnosed with a cancerous tumour on her liver and was receiving treatment including weekly injections.

Mrs Sealey took time off work claiming she was unwell from the ordeal while updating her colleagues with text messages.

One said ‘been awake most of the night. Still retching – this is horrid’ while in another she claimed to keep passing out in pain.

In a further message she said the tumour had been reduced to 9.2 per cent of its original size and by the summer of last year Mrs Sealey told people she had received the ‘all clear’.

Then in October she claimed to have been mugged after turning up for work with a black eye having more time off to supposedly fill in a police statement and help identify the perpetrator. But police later informed the school no such incident had ever been reported.

A month later Mrs Sealey handed a forged letter to her employers from her doctor confirming the tumour had been successfully removed following radiation therapy. But within weeks the school called for an investigation meeting where she admitted lying about having cancer, being assaulted as well as writing the letter herself.

A panel from the National College for Teaching and Leadership concluded Mrs Sealey’s actions represented unacceptable professional conduct and had brought the profession into disrepute, recommending she should be banned indefinitely.

The hearing also heard medical evidence that the former teacher had been suffering from a ‘serious’ medical condition during the period but ruled it still did not justify her behaviour.

Paul Heathcote, speaking on behalf of Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, confirmed Mrs Sealey could apply for the order to be overturned in four years noting she had shown remorse and insight into her actions.

“Mrs Sealey’s behaviour has fallen well short of the standard expected of a teacher,” he said. “She had failed to maintain high standards in her attendance and punctuality, has not acted with honesty and integrity and has failed to develop professional relationships with colleagues.”

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