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The ONLY weekly voice for secondary education Issue 233 • December 3 2009 Price £1.00
www.sec-ed.com
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At the chalkface:
Tories will stop schools
the greatest hits of
one of education’s
strongest
voices
suspending the accused
Ian
Whitwham’s
At the
DON'T ABUSE
brought, schools should be prevent- However, Neil Morton,
Chalkface ed from suspending staff. headteacher at Portora Royal
column is one
MY NAME
Speaking to SecEd after the School in Enniskillen, told us that
campaign
of SecEd’s
event, he said: “The vast majority although precautionary suspension
most popular
of allegations against school work- could be “difficult” for both the
features. His
ers are false, and it is unacceptable teacher concerned and the school,
that careers – and even lives – are it did serve the purpose of affording
poignant and
by C
U
h
S
ri
E
s
M
Parr
Y
blighted or destroyed by them.” distance between the accuser and
humourous
The Tories have already pledged the accused.
take on life Schools w
T
A
B
ill
N
'
be banned from their support to SecEd’s Don’t He added: “Suspension can pro-
in the classroom will cheer
suspending
N
teachers who are Abuse My Name campaign, which tect everyone in the process and
the most stressed of teachers.
accused of w
O
M
A
ro
D
ngdoing
E
by students has been raising awareness of the can ensure that the legal process
To celebrate a new book of
if the Conservatives win the next issue of false accusations against has clarity and transparency with all
election, the
campaign
shadow schools teachers for the last four years. extraneous difficulties – like con-
his best columns, editor Pete
minister has confirmed. In 2006, the then shadow sec- tinuing contact, accusations, loss
Henshaw has chosen four
Nick Gibb told SecEd that he retary of state for education, David of confidence, or rumour – being
of his favourites. Ian’s usual wants greater anonymity for teach- Willetts, used research from our minimised. It may appear to be an
weekly offering can also be
ers who face allegations from pupils, campaign to push for an amend- injustice but the law and natural
found on the back page
and that preventing schools from ment to the Education Act that justice are not always easy bedfel-
Pages 8, 9 and 16
suspending accused staff members would have seen teachers granted lows.”
would help to prevent the identity anonymity. Mr Gibb accepted that schools
Save our libraries!
of those under internal investigation Although the amendment was would need to look into ways
being leaked to the press. not passed on the grounds that it to keep the student and teacher
Tightening budgets are
Under the Tory plans, which would jeopardise the process of separate, but added that this was
have been a core part of the party’s open justice, the issue of grant- “preferable to imposing a suspen-
threatening school libraries.
education policy for a number of ing accused teachers anonymity has sion, which can result in details and
We look at why these
years, teachers would be granted remained a key political talking names being leaked”.
vital resources must be anonymity until official criminal point following a string of cases However, Mark Creasy,
safeguarded and how you
or disciplinary charges are brought, where falsely accused teachers have headteacher at Arrow Vale
can still deliver good library
and any investigation would be had their careers wrecked. Community High School in
services when money is tight
dropped if no action had been taken Mr Gibb continued: “Even Worcestershire, said the main diffi-
within one month of the allegation though there may be difficulties in culty in preventing an identity leak
Page 15
being made. having an accused teacher remain- was stopping the accuser, or their
Addressing delegates at the ing in school with the pupil making parents, from spreading the word.
A well deserved
Specialist Schools and Academies the allegation, I still feel it is a bet- He added: “I believe anyone is
Trust national conference in ter scenario than suspension. The innocent until proven guilty, with
Christmas break
Birmingham last week, Mr Gibb alternative The great outdoors: One school’s ambition to embed could result in a teacher proven being the imperative, how-
confirmed that before charges are seeing their career ruined.” ever it may outdoor learning activities across its curriculum, such as be that the member of
This is the final issue of SecEd
staff this urban art project, has earned it a national award. finds it intolerable having to
for 2009. Thanks as always
See page 2 for more
Conservative policy on allegations against teachers:
be at work and be face-to-face with
for reading – we hope we
their accuser.”
have gone some way to
• The presumption will be that teachers should not be suspended
Dr “If teacher and student are Teachers, said that although he was Bernard Trafford, headteach-
helping you survive and thrive
unless there is a clear prima facie case for disciplinary action or
er thrown together, say because the pleased the Tories were taking the at the Royal Grammar School
at the chalkface. SecEd will
criminal charges.
in student is in a set taught by that issue seriously, he did not want Newcastle-upon-Tyne, said the
Conservative teacher, it’s hard to see how they to see heads denied the option of proposals were too
return on January 7, 2010. If
• If no disciplinary action or criminal charges have been brought
“heavy-handed”. can continue with that during an suspension.
you can’t wait, then you can
within a month, the case will be automatically dropped. “Surely investigation. But that might call “Decisions on such matters it has to depend on the
stay in touch at www.sec-
• Any disciplinary action will have to be completed within one
case,” for an adapted timetable rather than should be taken at a local level, with he told us. “I think too often
ed.co.uk. Until then, have a
month or abandoned.
schools suspension which we all know is support given to the headteacher. have been pressured to sus-
very merry Christmas
• Teachers will have the right to anonymity during an investigation.
pend perceived as a very hostile action.” We do not want to see any politi- and thus acted precipitately. But
to Mick Brookes, general secretary cians dictating from on high”, he have a blanket ban on such actions
is of the National Association of Head added. too inflexible the other way.
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UK news
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Psycho babble
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Teach it like Torno!
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NQT diary
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Managing ICT
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Leadership page
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At the chalkface
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