About bloody time.
Suspended teachers assumed guilty
Barry Sheerman MP
Mr Sheerman said some of the allegations were 'shocking'
Teachers in England accused of misconduct should always be presumed innocent until proven guilty, MPs say.
A report by the Children, Schools and Families Committee said too many teachers were suspended needlessly and some have had their careers ruined.
The MPs said they were "shocked" that the government allowed teachers to be barred from contact with colleagues.
Officials said the the government would consider the report carefully, but added most cases were resolved quickly.
It is "unsatisfactory", the committee said, that no data was collected on how many teachers went on to be charged with any offence after being suspended.
Teaching unions say just 5% of allegations result in a charge of misconduct or a conviction.
The committee said head teachers were referring too many incidents to the local authority to investigate, leading to prolonged inquiries which could have been dealt with more quickly in school.
It recommended the number of allegations referred to local authorities and leading to a police investigation should be collected, as well as the number of allegations leading to suspension.
Outcomes should be recorded, including whether there were any charges or a dismissal.
In addition, schools should themselves investigate whether suspensions were justified, MPs said.
BBC NEWS | Education | Suspended teachers assumed guilty
Flip-side - they need to make it easier to get rid of incompetant teachers, instead of Unions supporting them to the n-th degree, and students education being hurt as a result.
Another flip-side (can there be more than one flip-side?!) would if an accusation was made against a teacher who stayed in place while it was investigated and a second incident occurred during that time. The school would be in a very awkward place if it became apparent that they had suspected the teacher but hadn't removed them from the situation. Duty of care, and all that.
If you suspected that your kid was stealing money from you wallet, would you continue to leave your wallet lying around until you could speak to them, or would you hide your wallet and then ask them about it?
Of course, it isn't that simple, as suspensions can ruin careers even if the teacher is subsequently cleared... No win, really.
Having knowledge of 2 cases - 1 teacher / 1 support, they aren't quick to be resolved, both suspended over 6 months with instructions not to contact colleagues. Both cases its been the police that have been the problem, it takes them forever to follow anything up.
Its unfortunate but I don't see an alternative to suspension, other than being accompanied by another member of staff at all times. The no contact rule is a step too far IMHO. I think anonymity is a must too in these cases, mud sticks.
I believe that the kid making the allegation should be suspended too, or taught in isolation at least.
Not sure how this works in other schools but for the cases I know of other staff have always been kept in the dark. That's probably the worst thing - the rumours, the whitish lies.
And the ease in which a student can accuse the teacher/support staff member. :(
I do feel this could be an area which could be looked into and dealt with better. :)
Its all too easy for students to make an allegation. Most schools, as per the report, run to the LA, who intern run to the police.
Schools need to investigate these things quickly and efficiently before passing the buck. They shouldn't be afraid of prejudicing any future investigation. A quick well documented investigation is in every ones interest.
Maybe this is what happens already, but without the stats of false allegations its impossible to tell. Maybe that should be another fields in the MIS - Number false allegations made =
Doesn't this mean that the whole point of suspension is being misconstrued by both pupils, parents and staff? ie. they think that suspension = punishment? When in fact it simply means allowing the school/LEA/police to investigate without problems occurring.
I think that a teacher accused of something serious MUST be suspended - but as has been said, suspension DOES NOT mean guilt, and it is the speed at which these things are investigated that is the main issue.
As for teaching the accuser in isolation - you appear to be presuming that the accusation is false - some aren't, you know, and punishing the accuser (whicih is how the child would see it) is one way to stop any child having the courage to report an incident with a teacher ever again.
I agree that the whole incident should be kept anonymous, at least until any charges are brought by the police.
Exactly - suspension is a neutral act. If people *weren't* suspended, there could be further allegations regarding tampering with evidence or attempting to coerce witnesses, for starters.
Originally Posted by localzuk
Surely it will be noticed, anonymous or not, when a member of staff suddenly stops coming to school? We have one who has been off for 6 months now, and no formal announcement has ever been made - after a week or so people started noticing, and all sorts of rumours began to spread. Though, I'm not sure that saying "X has been suspended from duty UFN" would have quashed many of them.
Originally Posted by witch
I think the biggest problem is that if the police investigate, even if you are completely cleared, it still shows on the enhanced CRB check and so there is naff all chance of getting a job again working in a school or with children.
Maybe if a child makes an allegation, the fact should go on the criminal record of the child and their parents.
Presumably you mean if the child makes an unfounded allegation and is then prosecuted for wasting police time - if they are old enough. If there was a criminal act committed, and they were convicted, it WOULD be on their record.
Originally Posted by teejay
As for a teacher being off - I can't see that it would hurt to imply some kind of illness to try to stop the rumours both inside and outside school
No way, giving kids and parents a criminal record for reporting someone is ridiculous. As Witch says, the problem is that sometimes allegations turn out to be true - we should do something to discourage false claims, but not at the expense of stopping people making real ones.
Originally Posted by teejay
Even that is flawed (although not as much as teejay's suggestion). The problem there would be that something might suspect someone and be, say, 90% certain. If there was the risk it would cost them a charge themselves, that 10% uncertainty might be enough to make them say nothing.
Originally Posted by witch
Yeah, you're right - I was just trying to think of a way for false accusers to be brought to book
Originally Posted by NickJones
In one of my previous employs even when the procurator fiscal and police said no case to answer people could still be sacked. They said even though there was no case to answer 'the balance of probability is that we think you did it' and sacked people anyway!!!