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Bogus Torquay teacher who led 'sham life' jailed

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 01, 2012

Julia Rawlinson

Julia Rawlinson

A bogus teacher who forged her qualifications to get two teaching jobs and a role with an examining board to improve her "social standing" has been jailed.

Julia Rawlinson admitted leading "a carefully constructed sham of a life" after almost a decade of deceit which saw her take on teaching roles in Northamptonshire and Devon, as well as with Edexcel.

The 45-year-old was described as a "pathological liar" who concocted stories about her educational career and academic qualifications in order to create a life for herself and her family which commanded respect, Exeter Crown Court heard.

Sentencing was delayed by months as psychiatric reports were ordered, but they showed no evidence of any mental illness. Judge Philip Wassall said this was part of Rawlinson's attempts to avoid the consequences of what she had done.

Jailing her for 18 months, he said: "There is not a single word of regret or thought for the children who were at the wrong end of your activities. It is all inward looking. There was no mental illness here. You were never mentally ill. Your entirely self-centred approach to this has blighted the careers of everyone you taught."

The mother of four, from Brixham, said she had advanced qualifications in sciences from universities in Glasgow and South Africa, where she was raised.

She used those qualifications, supported by fake certificates, to obtain her first teaching job, at Montagu School in Kettering in 2004.

But by 2007, she was already having her first brush with police when it transpired she had lied about the extent of her academic background. Rawlinson was cautioned for the offence but had already taken on a role as an examiner with Edexcel, marking IGCSE papers in biology.

It was off the back of this position that she was given a one-year teaching contract at Westlands School in Torquay in 2011, where she was to lead A-Level students through their biology modules.

But staff became suspicious when Rawlinson's CRB check was returned just a few weeks into the job, revealing the police caution. She was arrested, and forged documents originally downloaded from the internet were recovered by police. She admitted two counts of false representation and three counts of making a false instrument when she appeared before magistrates in Devon in January this year.

Prosecuting, Joss Ticehurst said students had suffered as a result of her dishonesty. He added: "This was a carefully constructed sham of a life."

Defending, Lee Bremridge said Rawlinson was "a pathological liar", but said she was undergoing a psycho-therapeutic intervention programme, at her own personal expense.

Judge Wassall gave Rawlinson credit for her guilty plea, telling her she would likely serve half of the 18-month term before being released on licence.

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