"the seriousness of the dishonesty element"
A PE teacher has been banned from the profession after she hid her fraud conviction in which she made a £50,000 insurance claim.
Dipti Patel, who taught at Moss Side’s Manchester Academy, made the claim after a “contrived burglary”.
The 37-year-old moved to Bolton from London in 2018.
Patel said one of the reasons for the move was an armed burglary at her home in the South of England. The family made an insurance claim for tens of thousands of pounds after the incident.
But an investigation revealed that this was a contrived burglary and that the insurance claim was fraudulent as a result.
She was charged with an offence under the Fraud Act.
Patel admitted exaggerating the claim at St Albans Crown Court but only told the school after her guilty plea.
She received a nine-month suspended sentence, 10 days of rehabilitation activities and 120 hours of unpaid work.
Soon after her guilty plea, Patel took leave from the academy.
She claimed it was to take a child to an appointment when in actual fact, it was to attend St Albans Crown Court.
On another application, she was not aware of anything which might affect her DBS status.
A Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) panel heard Patel failed to notify the academy after she was interviewed under police caution in October 2019 and appeared at a magistrates court in August 2020.
The panel also heard that Patel failed to disclose that she was facing criminal charges when she signed annual safeguarding documentation.
Ruling against her, the panel said Patel’s “dishonest actions were planned and happened on multiple occasions”.
It said her “culpability was further amplified by her persistent dishonesty in concealing this information from the academy until the last possible moment”.
The panel’s statement read:
“The panel was of the view a prohibition order was both proportionate and appropriate.”
“When balancing the competing aggravating factors and mitigating factors, the panel considered the mitigating factors, although significant, could not sufficiently diminish the seriousness of the dishonesty element in this case, which necessitated a prohibition order to properly maintain confidence in the profession and declare and uphold its standards.”
Patel was banned for two years.
An independent panel that looked into Patel’s conduct said:
“Teachers must have proper and professional regard for the ethos, policies and practices of the school in which they teach, and maintain high standards in their own attendance and punctuality.
“The panel finds that the conduct of Mrs Patel fell significantly short of the standards.”
Manchester Academy said as soon as it was made aware of Patel’s conviction, she “was suspended and now no longer works at the school”.