A MUSIC teacher who lied about having cancer and forged a medical report to get time off sick was banned from the classroom for eight years.
Elizabeth Lamb, 28, blamed her frequent absences from school on hospital treatments and being too unwell to come in and even set up an internet blog about her bogus illness, a Teaching Agency professional conduct panel heard.
Head of music Miss Lamb, who joined St Bede’s Catholic high school in Ormskirk in 2007, first told her head teacher Richard Varey she had cancer in October 2010.
Mr Varey told the panel that when he proposed referring her to the education authority’s occupation health advisers she produced a fake medical report to cover her tracks.
But suspicions were aroused when different versions of her story did not add up.
When interviewed by Mr Varey, she eventually admitted her lies.
Miss Lamb claimed she had found a lump in her breast in September 2010 which turned out to be a cyst – but had then gone on to make up the story of her illness. After the school threatened disciplinary proceedings, she resigned on November 13 last year.
In her letter of resignation Miss Lamb, who was not represented, said she was receiving treatment and therapy for health issues and was “sincerely sorry and regrets wholeheartedly the distress arising from her actions”.
The panel considered a dossier of documents including texts, blog posts, absence records, and a doctor’s statement saying a medical report supposedly from him was false.
The panel found there was “a risk to the public and to pupils if somebody who lied over a long period of time, who was dishonestly misleading, took advantage of her colleagues’ sympathy, and who damaged children’s education by being absent from school, is permitted to continue to teach children”.
She was found guilty of serious professional misconduct and banned from the profession for at least eight years.
St Bede’s head teacher Chris Horrocks, who replaced Mr Varey after he took up a new post in Burnley earlier this year, said: “My predecessor took action on this case as soon as his suspicions were aroused.
“We are grateful for the support we received from all quarters during this time and I am pleased to say school life has continued as normal.
“Any case like this is difficult for a school, but it is also fair to say everyone who knew Miss Lamb is genuinely glad to know that she is not suffering from a terminal illness.”