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'Teacher' lied about degree to get jobs

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 03, 2012

Julia Rawlinson was employed as a teacher, but her hoax was soon uncovered by school bosses

Julia Rawlinson was employed as a teacher, but her hoax was soon uncovered by school bosses

A woman who tricked her way to becoming a teacher and an exam board official has admitted she doesn't even have a degree.

Julia Rawlinson, 44, used a computer to forge degree, doctorate and teaching certificates.

She worked at Westlands School in Plainmoor, Torquay, as a biology teacher despite having no qualifications to do so. It is believed she also worked at other schools in the South West.

Before that, she worked for the examination board Edexcel as a chief examiner and is believed to have marked hundreds of A-level papers from across the country.

Rawlinson, of The Crescent, Brixham, appeared before magistrates in Torquay to admit two counts of fraud by false representation and three of making a false instrument under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981.

The charges say that between February 1, 2011, and September 2, 2011, in order to get a job as a teacher, she told Westlands School she held a masters degree in science psychology and a doctorate of science psychology from the Glasgow Caledonian University.

Prosecutor Alison Jordan said: "On October 5, Westlands School contacted the police to say one of their teachers, Julia Rawlinson, had provided false degrees in order to obtain a teaching position.

"The school contacted the university and was told those bore no resemblance to their certificates and were poor forgeries."

Police arrested Rawlinson and found three forged certificates at her house. These included a biochemistry degree from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, a fake doctorate from Glasgow Caledonian and a fake qualified teacher status certificate from the General Teaching Council for England.

Rawlinson admitted she had made them up using graphics from the internet and had never completed a degree.

She also admitted that on or about April 5, 2007, she lied about a degree to get a job as an examiner with Edexcel examination board.

Rawlinson asked for three further forgery offences to be taken into consideration.

Defence solicitor Jolyon Tuck said there were mental health issues to consider.

Rawlinson was committed to Exeter Crown Court for sentence on February 20.

Westlands headteacher Dr Colin Kirkman said in a statement: "We understand she also worked in at least two other schools in this area in this capacity.

"Julia was offered a temporary part-time contract to work at Westlands from September 1 teaching A-level science.

"However, we noticed that her exam certificates were photocopies.

"Torbay children's services commended us for the extensive checks that we made — the depth of the checks that exam boards and other organisations failed to make."

A spokesman for Edexcel said Rawlinson had started work for them in 2007.

"We are appalled," the spokesman said. "She would have marked exam papers. She may have marked one or a small number or a larger number, we don't know.

"It looks like a few years ago she provided false documentation. She was getting away with it for a while."

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