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Teacher at Batley school lied about qualifications

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A man was employed for four months as a teacher at a Batley school before it emerged he was not fully qualified and had lied about a previous conviction.

Christopher Lafferty, 26, applied for a position in the maths department at Park Road Junior and Infants School after seeing an advert and was interviewed from a shortlist.

Robert Galley prosecuting told Leeds Crown Court today (Wednesday) Lafferty impressed at the interview on May 20 last year and was offered a temporary contract.

As part of the application he had included a disclosure statement regarding criminal convictions which stated he had been fined by a judge in Derbyshire after he and a business partner were investigated by Revenue and Customs over a document that proved fraudulent.

Mr Galley said that was not the truth Lafferty had been given a suspended jail sentence in 2012 after an earlier offence of fraud where he gained employment at a home for persons with dementia in Hampshire.

On that occasion he falsely claimed to have obtained a degree in adult nursing from Huddersfield University in 2000 – a time when he was a schoolboy. In fact he had never attended that university.

Lafferty was already teaching at Batley when an officer at Kirklees council making a Criminal Records Bureau check on his documents discovered something was wrong.

Inquiries then revealed that Lafferty was not a fully qualified teacher as he had claimed. He had completed teacher training but had not passed the final skills test which completed his qualification and had falsified that on his application.

By then he had been paid £6,900 net in his teaching position.

Angus MacDonald representing Lafferty said the offences were indicative of his vulnerability. “He clearly wants to impress and be liked and he tells outrageous lies in order to do so.”

He said that Lafferty was lacking in self worth but had done a good job as a teacher and other staff had not been concerned about his abilities before his actions came to light. He had also helped to raise £20,000 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

He had also now been offered a job as a classical musician on a cruise liner but if given the opportunity to do punishment in the community that would have to put that on hold.

Lafferty of Haigh Park Walk, Pontefract, admitted fraud and was given 18 months in prison suspended for two years with 200 hours unpaid work and a 15 day activity requirement.

He was sentenced to six weeks in prison from the previously suspended sentence but Recorder Dean Kershaw said he had already served that while on remand so would be immediately released.

He said Lafferty had told a “web of lies” but teachers at the school thought he was doing a good job and he accepted he was trying to rebuild his life.

 

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