South East Wales

Child cancer lies: Cwmcarn teacher Kelly Baker banned

Kelly Baker
Image caption Kelly Baker was given a suspended jail term last year for fraud

A teacher who lied that a child was dying of cancer in order to get time off work has been struck off.

Kelly Baker, 31, was given paid leave during her "elaborate story," which she kept going for more than a year.

Miss Baker, who taught at Cwmcarn Primary School in Caerphilly county, was banned from teaching for four years by a disciplinary hearing.

The teacher, of Maesycwmmer, who also claimed several times she was ill, was given a suspended jail term last year.

She received a six-month jail term suspended for two years in 2012 after admitting two counts of fraud.

A disciplinary hearing in Cardiff was told she even phoned the school on one occasion to say she could not work because the child had lost the use of their legs and fallen into a coma.

She produced fake medical certificates on her home computer in a bid to back up her story. But her lies were exposed when her head teacher tried to visit the child in hospital to deliver a card.

Education officials suspended her from her £30,000-a-year job after becoming suspicious.

The General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) has banned her from teaching after finding her guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

She did not attend the hearing and cannot reapply for registration until 2017. There is no guarantee she will be reinstated.

The panel said: "We have heard evidence that Miss Baker's persistent and dishonest behaviour did adversely affect the emotional wellbeing of her pupils.

'Abused trust'

"She abused the trust of the school authority and her colleagues and her conduct did have serious financial implications for the school."

During her trial at Cardiff Crown Court last July, the jury was told the school called in the police who arrested her for fraud.

Steve Harmes, prosecuting, told the hearing: "Staff and pupils at the school were distressed believing the child had cancer. Baker initially took a month off.

"Then, 18 months later, she said the child had had lost the use of their legs before falling into a coma caused by a faulty ventilator starving the child of oxygen.

"Two months later she said the child had regained consciousness but was in a high dependency unit and unable to recognise people."

Mr Harmes said head teacher Gwyn Evans travelled to the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend, to take a card to her and was told the teacher was not there.

Mr Evans was later told that the child was perfectly well and had never been in hospital.

The school later sacked her after discovering she also lied to them about needing time off work for her father's funeral. She also faked 13 health problems of her own to take time off.

She claimed she was suffering from viral fatigue, a broken arm, fractured ribs, dislocated hip and a urinary tract infection.

The school discovered that she had forged one of her references to get the job at the school.

Vaughan Britton, defending, said: "She had created a fantasy world and then couldn't separate that from reality."