Preston teacher banned from classroom after lies

LArches school. Photo: Google
LArches school. Photo: Google
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A teacher who lied about her qualifications to land a job at a Preston school has been struck off for at least five years.

Tracy Doran, 41, admitted providing false information when she applied for a teaching post at Larches High School pupil referral unit in 2016.

A professional conduct panel heard Doran, who was a qualified teacher, had misled the school by stating she had a PhD in Special Educational Needs, an MA in Inclusive Education and had also exaggerated her GCSE grades to get the job as Head of Key Stage 3 at the special school in Moor Park.

She also provided a falsified Doctor of Philosophy certificate and wrongly described herself as an educational psychologist.

The Teaching Regulation Agency panel sitting in Coventry was told Doran started work at the school in September 2016, but in November 2017 concerns were raised which led to checks into her qualifications.

In the January, she was told a review of her file had been undertaken and she was asked to produce her original certificates.

The following day she failed to turn up for work, citing health reasons. She then emailed to say she intended to resign.

Nevertheless the school continued with the investigation and a disciplinary process was begun.

Doran, who did not attend the hearing, admitted all the allegations in writing and accepted she had deliberately misled the school to improve her chances of getting the job.

She agreed that she “provided false information in respect of her qualifications” when she referred to herself as an educational psychologist in a written reference for a colleague. She even signed the document: “Dr Tracy Doran (Phd)."

And she admitted she had filled in a declaration form with her job application which read: “I certify to the best of my knowledge all the information I have given is correct.

“I understand that by deliberately giving false or incomplete answers I will be disqualified from consideration for this post or, if I am appointed, may be liable for summary dismissal with possible referral to the police.”

The panel decided she had been guilty of “unacceptable professional conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute”.

“In light of her clear admission and the evidence, the panel was satisfied that Doran was dishonest by the standards of reasonable and honest people,” said the judgment.

“Her actions were deliberate and were intended to mislead. The panel considered that, by her actions, Doran had failed to adhere to the ethical and professional standards of her profession.”

In her defence, it was said Doran had an unblemished record up to that point. She had a previous good history and there were no complaints in relation to her teaching practice. She had engaged in the proceedings and made early admissions. And she indicated “she had experienced severe personal difficulties both in her personal and professional life".

The panel also found she had shown regret and remorse. But it still recommended that she should be barred from teaching for at least five years, after which she could apply to have the order reviewed.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds confirmed the decision.

Inspector Alan Meyrick, on his behalf, said the ruling meant Doran was “prohibited from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England".

Doran had shown “clear regret and remorse and some limited insight into the consequences of her actions”.

And he added: “In my judgment the limited insight means that there is some risk of the repetition of this behaviour.

“I have considered the overall aim of a prohibition order which is to protect pupils and maintain public confidence in the (teaching) profession.”

In correspondence with the panel, Doran indicated she had no “current desire” to return to teaching.

Fred Nelson, chair of the management committee at Larches High School, said: “I can confirm that a teacher left our school in January 2018 and the matter was referred to the Teaching Regulation Agency.”

Letter rang alarm bells

For 13 months Doran carried out her duties as a teacher without suspicion.

But one letter set the alarm bells ringing and eventually led to her being exposed as a fraud.

The document, on Lancashire County Council headed notepaper, was a job reference for a colleague at Larches.

In it she wrote: “As an educational psychologist I have seen other effective changes in student learning ability after short session with *****.” And she signed the reference “Dr Tracy Doran (Phd), Head of Key Stage 3.

The letter raised concerns which later led to checks being made of her qualifications. And the deception was exposed.