RE teacher who lied that he was an SAS hero is banned from classrooms
RE teacher who lied to boarding school colleagues and pupils that he was an SAS hero shot twice in a war-zone is banned from classrooms indefinitely – after his ‘bullet wounds’ were exposed as old jogging injury
- Dr William Sharkey, 38, lied about serving in Britain’s special forces
- He was fired from his job at Bryanston School in Dorset after being exposed
An RE teacher who lied about being an SAS war hero has been banned from the classroom – after his ‘bullet wounds’ were exposed as an old jogging injury.
Dr William Sharkey, 38, told pupils and colleagues at Bryanston School in Dorset that he had been shot twice while carrying out a secret mission for Britain’s special forces.
He was later fired from his job at the £43,350 a year boarding school after he was caught meeting a female pupil in his room, after sharing ‘over familiar’ messages with the vulnerable sixth former.
The religious studies teacher has now been banned from classrooms indefinitely after it was revealed he had lied about serving in the SAS since university.
Dr Sharkey was revealed to have maintained the lie out of habit while working at the Dorset boarding school, which counts scouts founder Lord Baden Powell as one of its former pupils.
Dr Sharkey, 38, (pictured) told pupils and colleagues he had been shot twice while serving in the SAS – before his ‘wounds’ were exposed to be jogging injuries
The 38-year-old was also revealed to have exchanged ‘over familiar’ messages with the sixth former, despite claiming she had come to see him about a university application.
The teacher will now be banned from classrooms for at least five years, with the block set to be reviewed in 2028.
Barrister Mr Jeremy Phillips KC, who chaired the Teaching Regulation Agency, hearing said Dr Sharkey told colleagues he had been injured in a warzone, while a member of the SAS.
Mr Phillips said: ‘He admitted that he had not been injured in a warzone. He also admitted that he had not ever been a member of the SAS.
‘A colleague stated that he had been told by Dr Sharkey that he was a member of the SAS, had suffered an injury and had been shot.
‘He stated that this was a story well-known around the school, that it was something that Dr Sharkey told the boys in the boarding house and a number of colleagues at the school were aware of it.’
Dr Sharkey told fellow teacher he had been a part time reservist in the SAS between 2004 and 2009 when completing his degree. He claimed he had been shot and wounded twice in one incident.
‘Dr Sharkey explained that he had been asked by the pupils about his running style, and he had told them about the incident,’ Mr Phillips continued.
‘He also claimed he had been part of the SAS as a reservist with a commitment of 80 days’ training and operations each year between 2004 and 2009, that he had been in combat renaissance and refused to explain where he had been deployed.
‘Dr Sharkey later explained that his SAS service had been fabricated and that he had not deployed abroad, that his ‘wounds’ were an old running injury and that his story had been to hide
‘Dr Sharkey confirmed that he had not been injured overseas whilst serving with the SAS, and that he had lied.
‘He had made up a lie about being in the SAS, and had maintained that lie since he was in university.
‘The panel had seen an email from Dr Sharkey to colleagues of 29 December 2015 in which he stated that he had been shot twice in a war-zone.’
He was fired from the job in February 2016 after a female sixth former was twice seen leaving his private quarters in an all-male boarding house.
The religious studies teacher was fired from his job at Bryanston School in Dorset (pictured) which charges £43,350 a year and counts scouts founder Lord Baden Powell as a former pupil
He claimed he had been helping the girl with her university applications and she had turned up the second time unannounced.
But teaching watchdogs were told he was well aware he should not have been seeing pupils in his residential flat.
He had only worked at the school since June 2015 where he taught RE and philosophy as well as running the boarding house.
He was dismissed less than a fortnight later and worked as a part time lecturer at the University of Southampton from 1 October 2014 to 31 May 2015.
His dismissal letter stated ‘Dr Sharkey’s repeated dishonesty had undermined the school’s ability to trust what he said, which was particularly concerning to the school given that Dr Sharkey’s role involved regular contact with pupils’.
In October 2020, he applied for to teach again at Lymm High School, Warrington.
He claimed in his application he had worked at the University of Southampton from September 2012 until December 2016, failing to mention his job at Bryanston – or that he had been fired.
He was employed at Lymm High School as head of religious studies from October 2020 until January 2022.
But it was then discovered that between July and August 2021, he began exchanging ‘over familiar’ emails with a female student, referred to only as Pupil A, knowing she was vulnerable.
‘This included the phrase ‘Stay awesome’, ‘Hahahahahahhaa!!!’, the use of emojis, sharing information regarding trips he had taken and a book that he was reading,’ Mr Phillips said.
‘The panel noted that Dr Sharkey initiated the contact. Dr Sharkey may have been well intentioned to check in with a vulnerable pupil whilst she was away from the school.
‘But if Dr Sharkey was concerned for Pupil A’s welfare during the school holidays, he ought to have discussed this with relevant colleagues, rather than establishing communications with her himself.’
Dr Sharkey was revealed to have maintained his lie about serving in the SAS since university (File photo: Members of Britain’s Special Air Service in WWII)
Banning him from teaching for at least five years, Sarah Buxcey, for the Education Secretary, underlined:
‘The panel had seen Dr Sharkey’s letter appealing the decision to terminate his employment at Bryanston School.
‘This stated that Dr Sharkey had repeated to a colleague at Bryanston School a lie he had told previously to a running partner prior to joining Bryanston School.
‘He stated that he had previously told this lie to keep his past a secret, and out of panic since being asked questions raised extremely emotional issues for him.
‘He stated that he feared the colleague at Bryanston School might one day meet some of his friends from Southampton and a discrepancy would be noted.
‘He stated that he had not been motivated by any desire to show-off or impress pupils, but that he had been motivated by shame, fear and mostly by habit.
‘The panel considered that Dr Sharkey had been aware when he represented that he had served in the SAS, that it was untrue, and that he was telling a lie.
‘An ordinary decent person would consider this to be dishonest. The panel found Dr Sharkey’s conduct to be dishonest.’
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