More than half of teachers accused of abuse continue working with children while the allegations are examined, data suggests. This is from the Times…
There are also wide variations in how local authorities react, with some much less likely to suspend or dismiss teachers than others — but teachers point out that many allegations turn out to be false.
Last week Jeremy Forrest, a maths teacher, was jailed for abducting and having sex with a 15-year-old schoolgirl. The school he worked at alerted its local council but he was not suspended and went on to have a sexual relationship with the pupil and abduct her.
Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has said he does not want to see the mandatory referral of every allegation to local authorities. In a letter to a Conservative MP, he said: “We must be careful not to swamp LADOs (local authority designated officers) with every incident reported. Schools should be trusted to use their own professional judgement.”
The letter was obtained by Exaro, the investigative news website. The data, collected by Jures, a legal research company, and IBB solicitors, was taken from 2010-11, from 38 of England’s 152 local authorities. In the group analysed, 32 per cent of accused teachers were suspended or dismissed following allegation of sexual or physical abuse. The figures examine the allegations made which were reported to their local authority and whether the teachers were suspended or dismissed. The data was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
A school is not legally obliged to report an allegation to the local authority but head teachers do so if it is judged to be serious. Schools do, however, have legal responsibilities for safeguarding the children in their care…
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said: “The overwhelming majority of allegations are shown to be false. However . . . in too many cases teachers become too ill to return to work because of the stress, find their family life is seriously affected or are put under pressure to leave their job by governing bodies who work on the basis that there is no smoke without fire.”
The Department for Education said nearly half of serious allegations against school teachers turned out to be unsubstantiated, malicious or unfounded.
A spokeswoman said: “Concerns about a pupil’s welfare must be referred to local authority social care, or to the relevant body, including the police. If professionals fail to do this they should be held to account. We also want to put a stop to malicious and unfounded allegations. That is why we have introduced new legislation to give anonymity to teachers accused by pupils unless they are charged.”