Fake teacher Julia Rawlinson raises exams concern

Julia Rawlinson
Image caption The court heard that there were concerns about Julia Rawlinson's mental health

A teacher who forged her qualifications may have over marked A-level course work at a Devon school, Exeter Crown Court has heard.

Julia Rawlinson faked documents to work as an Edexcel examiner in 2007 and a biology teacher at Westlands School, Torquay, in 2011, the court heard.

Staff at the school became suspicious and called the police.

Sentencing was adjourned on Rawlinson, 44, of Brixham, who admitted false representation and forgery.

'Very optimistic'

Prosecutor Howard Phillips told the court Rawlinson had been marking course work and that as a consequence "the grades of children are likely to be affected".

"They went forward believing they had more in their coursework than was the case and expecting to do better than they did," he said.

Colin Kirkman, head teacher at Westlands, said after the case that Rawlinson had been giving pupils "very optimistic" indicative grades on their coursework "which led them to believe that they were doing better than was the case".

Those indicative grades would have been sent to the examining board before a final grade was given.

Edexcel said it had reviewed Rawlinson's work and it was "confident every student received the grade they deserved".

The firm added the application process for markers had been strengthened as a result of the case.

The court heard that Rawlinson's forged documents included a masters degree in science psychology and a doctorate of science psychology from the Glasgow Caledonian University and a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Jolyon Tuck, defending Rawlinson, said there were concerns about Rawlinson's mental health.

Photocopied certificates

Judge Phillip Wassall adjourned sentencing to allow new medical reports to be prepared.

Mr Kirkman said Rawlinson had portrayed herself as chief examiner for A-level biology with Edexcel and had helped the school before summer 2011 with A-level biology project work.

She had been taken on as a temporary part-time staff member on 1 September.

He said: "The normal CRB checks were undertaken and references received prior to employment.

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

"As a result, we immediately contacted the universities where she 'gained' her qualifications to validate her certificates.

"We found that they were forgeries and reported this to the police."

Rawlinson's employment at Westlands was terminated in early October.

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