A teacher who lied about having cancer and falsely claimed that her eye had been removed has been permanently barred from teaching. Julianne Cox, who worked at St Helena School, in Colchester, Essex between 2014 and 2017, told colleagues her right retina had been surgically removed and she was undergoing chemotherapy, reported the Independent.
She claimed her eye had been replaced with a prosthetic eye and provided the school with a letter from the Neurology Department at Colchester Hospital, but her deception was uncovered when the logo on the letter was no longer in use by the medical facility.
The hospital later confirmed the letter was not sent by the neurology department and that it was opening an investigation as the communication fraudulently misrepresented a clinician. When confronted, Cox denied she was the one who wrote but could not offer ‘credible explanation’ for the inconsistencies within the letter.
Despite that, she agreed to provide consent for her medical details to be shared between the school and the hospital. She was subsequently placed on medical suspension weeks later as the school was unable to understand her medical condition due to the lack of information provided.
On the same day of her suspension, Cox phoned the hospital to say the signature on her medical consent form had been forged by the school, which prompted an investigation into her allegation. She then resigned immediately.
In March 2017, she started working at another school, The Bridge Academy in Hackney, east London despite still being employed at St Helena School. Essex Police later launched a fraud investigation into her case.
She was also subjected to questions surrounding her PhD qualification, which she claimed to have received from Cavendish College, Cambridge. However, she was not able to provide an explanation when it was put to her that the college has not existed since 1892.
Testifying before a professional conduct panel, Cox admitted she had never had eye surgery and had never undergone chemotherapy. The panel then banned her indefinitely from teaching in any school, sixth form college, youth accommodation or children’s home in England.