Walthamstow teacher gave fake degree certificate after months of being asked to share qualifications by employer

Walthamstow Academy
Walthamstow Academy -Credit:Google

A teacher in a school on the Essex border gave a fake degree certificate to his employers as proof that he was qualified to teach, despite being asked for months to share a copy of his real one. Simon Hall had a degree and was qualified to be a teacher, but despite repeated requests he failed to produce a copy of his degree certificate.

Hall applied and was appointed the Head of Media at Walthamstow Academy in April 2022. As part of his appointment the school required copies of his degree and qualified teacher status certificates, and these were first asked for in February 2022.

Over the next seven months Hall's employers repeatedly asked him to share a copy of his degree certificate, including when he first began in February of that year. Hall would make excuses such as him being unable to locate the document, that he would re-order a new one, and that its arrival kept getting delayed.

Read more: Police officer saves man's life after he took overdose and cut himself with a knife when he went missing

Read more: George Gilbey fundraiser raised more than £6,000 for Gogglebox star's funeral after tragic death

He later stated it had been delivered to his parents' house and he would collected it in the summer of 2022. However, he failed to produce it at the start of the September term, and was asked to send a photo of the certificate, which he did on September 5.

Walthamstow Academy later confirmed with Solent University that Hall did indeed have a degree, but the physical certificate was still not produced. It was then confirmed that the picture Hall had sent of the certificate was fake, as it was worded differently to the one his previous employers had on file.

It later turned out that Hall had searched for "Solent University degree certificate" on the school's IT system and used a template he found online to forge a certificate. Hall later confessed he had not requested a new degree certificate until September 2022, seven months after first being asked.

Hall was referred to the Teaching Regulation Agency and a misconduct hearing was held over his actions. Decision maker Sarah Buxcey said: "The panel did believe that Mr Hall had falsified the certificate with the intention of convincing the school that he had evidence of his degree certificate.

"The panel was of the view that this was a calculated decision, building upon the web of lies he had told in the preceding months that he was actively trying to obtain a copy of his certificate. In oral evidence, Mr Hall confirmed that it was not until September 2022 that he applied for a copy certificate from Solent University, despite having had ample opportunity to do so over the previous months, including during the summer holidays when Mr Hall was travelling."

The panel found that Hall's actions were "dishonest" and lacked integrity. In evidence Hall said he had spent the last two years regretting his actions and would accept "any punishment" considered appropriate. Ms Buxcey decided not to make any order in relation to Hall's actions and deemed the publication of his actions would be "sufficient" to show his actions were not acceptable.