London: A 37-year-old Indian-origin schoolteacher from the northwest of England has been prohibited from teaching for a minimum two-year period after a professional conduct panel found that she failed to disclose a fraud conviction to her employer.
Dipti Patel was a teacher at Manchester Academy and was accused of “unacceptable professional conduct and/or conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute” for failing to disclose a September 2020 conviction at St Albans Crown Court.
The Professional Conduct Panel hearing, held last month, noted that Patel was convicted of the offence of “dishonestly make false representation to make gain for self/another or cause loss to other/expose other to risk”.
“The panel finds that the conduct of Mrs Patel fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession. The findings are particularly serious as they include a finding of dishonesty, which the panel describe as ‘inherently serious’,” the panel noted in a decision on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE) last week.
“I consider therefore that a two-year review period is required to satisfy the maintenance of public confidence in the profession. This means that Mrs Dipti Patel is prohibited from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children’s home in England. She may apply for the prohibition order to be set aside, but not until 23 May 2025, two years from the date of this order at the earliest,” it concludes.
The panel was satisfied that Patel still had “much to offer the teaching profession” and that a prohibition order with a review period could lead to her applying to set the order aside at the end of the review period.
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“Accordingly, the panel recommended to the Secretary of State (Gillian Keegan) that a prohibition order should be imposed, with Mrs Patel to be able to make an application to review the order after a period of two years,” the decision noted.
Patel had admitted the allegation against her and the panel said it was satisfied that her admission was “unequivocal and consistent” with the surrounding evidence and therefore found the allegation proved. She has the right of appeal against the panel’s decision in the High Court in England.
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