Academy and free school staff increasingly forced to whistleblower helplines to report problems

The Independent is reporting warnings from a charity that teachers worried about problems in schools do not know how to raise the alarm because of the expansion of free schools and academies…

…Public Concern at Work said the more worrying trend was a big jump in the number of cases brought to it by people working in education, which rose from 243 in 2012 to 382 last year (57 per cent).

The organisation, which runs a free confidential advice line for workers, said many teachers had been left unsure who to approach when they saw something wrong at work.

Cathy James, chief executive of Public Concern at Work, said: “There has been a sharp rise in the number of concerns raised in the health and education sectors, this is something everyone should take very seriously…”

She added: “…the most concerning of the two is the rise in education as this indicates a worrying lack of oversight in the sector. Teachers are often confused about where to go in a rapidly changing sector. For example, for many of those working at academies, it has not been made sufficiently clear that local authorities remain responsible for safeguarding children. It is not clear at all who they are supposed to approach if they have financial concerns.”…

A Department for Education spokesman said: “We have published clear guidance for maintained schools, academies, free schools and early years providers clearly setting out what the complaints procedures employers must put in place and how staff or members of the public can make a complaint in relation to any of these areas. All concerns raised are reviewed and where appropriate action is taken…”

More at: Academy and free school staff increasingly forced to whistleblower helplines to report problems


Have Public Concern at Work identified a genuine issue here? If you work in a free school or academy, is it less clear where you should go if something is wrong, whether it be a safeguarding, employment or other issue? Or is the DfE right in suggesting there is clear guidance in all cases? Please tell us how you see things in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Academies and Free Schools.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Dear politicians, hate to say “told you so”, but frankly we did and you ignored everyone. The guidance is anything but clear

  2. TW

    DfE guidance is clear in the sense that the DfE clearly does not want complaints, however justified, about academies and free schools.

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