Allegations Against School Staff - Children, Schools and Families Committee Contents



The NASUWT began to record statistics.
1993The NASUWT continued to campaign for fair procedures for the investigation of allegations of abuse against teachers.
The Union made representations to the Home Office and DfEE over injustices arising from the operation of the List 99 procedure and the process for the criminal record vetting of teachers for employment purposes.
1994As a result of pressure from the NASUWT, the six teacher unions and CLEA produced guidelines on the practice and procedure for dealing with situations where teachers faced allegations of physical and/or sexual abuse from pupils. ACPO failed fully to endorse the document.
1995The CLEA/Six Teacher Union Guidelines on Practice and Procedure for the Investigation of Allegations Against Teachers were adopted by the Secretary of State and published as an annex to revised DfEE Circular 10/95 (Protecting Children from Abuse: The Role of the Education Service).
Substantial progress was achieved towards the negotiation of focused national guidelines designed to provide a degree of protection to headteachers facing charges of improper behaviour toward pupils.
The NASUWT made direct representations to the Home Office and ACPO over the detriment experienced by teachers as a consequence of the disclosure to employers of non-conviction information.
1996Negotiations opened in respect of revisions to the CLEA/Six Teacher Union Guidelines on Practice and Procedure for the Investigation of Allegations Against Teachers to cover the situation of headteachers.
1998The NASUWT held discussions with Crispin Blunt MP on his 10 Minute Rule Bill to curb the powers of the press in respect of reporting allegation cases before a full investigation has taken place or the member had been charged.
1999Crispin Blunt MP presented a Private Member's Bill, which was unsuccessful, to provide for the anonymity of teachers, citing the NASUWT's campaign and the Union's statistics on allegations in support of the Bill.
2000The Union continued to press for legislative change to provide anonymity during investigations and other formal proceedings. Baroness Emily Blatch (Conservative) presented an amendment to the Sexual Offences Bill, which said: "(3A) Where an allegation has been made that a person has committed an offence under this section and the person is a teacher at an educational institution, it shall be unlawful to publish or broadcast that person's name or address or a still or moving picture of him before he is charged with the offence."

Unfortunately, due to Government opposition and Parliamentary procedure, the amendment had to be withdrawn.
The Union submitted a detailed paper to the DfEE regarding concerns over procedures, or lack of them. In response, the DfEE arranged discussions with ACPO, Social Services, the CPS and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
2001The annex to DfES Circular 10/95 was amended to include best practice for dealing with educational staff who have been accused of abuse.
In response to the NASUWT's concerns, the DfES established and funded a strategic network of 25 Investigation and Referral Support Co-ordinators (IRSCs) in regional clusters throughout England to work with local education authorities and Area Child Protection Committees (ACPCs), placing them close to their client and partner groups within the local structure.
The Union introduced a specialist face-to-face counselling service for members subject to allegations of child abuse, which remains in place to date.
2002The revised joint guidance produced by the six teacher unions and the employers was published.
Joint guidance was also published on abuse of trust regulations.
2003The NASUWT postcard and leafleting campaign for anonymity was launched.
The Union provided written evidence to the All Party Group for Abuse Investigations.
200460,000 postcards were delivered to Downing Street. Claire Curtis-Thomas MP presented 30,000 of the responses to the House of Commons.
Charles Clarke, Secretary of State, undertook to work with the NASUWT to improve the process of dealing with allegations against teachers.
The Conservative Party Education Spokesperson also reiterated the Party's commitment to guarantee anonymity up to the point of charge.
The ACPO issued revised guidance making it clear that anyone under investigation by the police should not be named or any details be provided to the press that might lead to their identification prior to them being formally charged.
The Union undertook a Joint Critical Case Review with the DfES of allegation cases to identify the generic issues in cases that added to the stress and trauma of those accused and that increased the risk of exposure in the media.
As a result, a consultation paper was issued by the DfES. The proposals included guidance to the police to ensure that anonymity up to the point of charge is maintained, a fast-track procedure to identify in days, rather than months or years, whether there is any substance to an allegation, a fortnightly review of the progress of cases, and rigorous national and local monitoring and evaluation of the new arrangements. The Government gave a commitment to keep the anonymity issue under review.
The Government's Five-Year Strategy made a specific commitment to address the issue of false, malicious and exaggerated allegations against teachers.
The Union also provided oral and written evidence to the Bichard Inquiry and highlighted the severe problems of inconsistency of police record keeping, inappropriateness of information held and the problems of disclosure.
2005The Union secured a commitment from the Government to introduce a monitoring procedure to enable regular review and evaluation of the effectiveness of the new fast-track guidance with a view to the introduction of legislative changes if the problems still persist.
The NASUWT also continued to highlight and campaign on the impact of soft information being retained to the potential detriment of teachers and raised these concerns in a consultation response to the proposed Post-Bichard Vetting Scheme (DfES), Regulations under Part 5 of the Police Act 1997 (CRB) and the proposed Code of Practice on the Management of Police Information (National Centre for Policing Excellence). In addition, the NASUWT also asserted that a police officer who discloses the identity of a person, prior to that person being charged for an offence, should be subject to disciplinary action for breaching the ACPO guidance on anonymity.
2006The Allegations Management Advisers (AMA) network was established by the Government to work with Local Safeguarding Children Boards and their members.
The Minister of State for Schools and Learners, Jim Knight, invited the NASUWT to present the background to the anonymity issue to a cross party group of MPs, representatives from the House of Lords and the NSPCC.
2007-09New measures to tackle pupil indiscipline were published by the Government with specific reference to disciplinary sanctions against those pupils who made false and malicious allegations against staff.
The Union provided a detailed response to the DCSF's consultation on reviewing the guidance for schools when an allegation is made against education staff. The review was ongoing into 2008, with the Union being a member of the review steering group. The review was published in May 2009.

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