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Dealing with allegations of abuse against teachers and other staff

Dealing with allegations of abuse against teachers and other staff

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Guest Post from the Clerk to Governors website.

For up to date statutory guidance on dealing with allegations of abuse, visit the DfE website. The following information was published on 1st October 2012.

This is statutory guidance from the Department for Education. This means recipients must have regard to it when carrying out duties relating to handling allegations of abuse against teachers and other staff.

This guidance is aimed at all schools, local authorities, governing bodies and the FE sector.

This guidance relates to all adults working with children and young people, whether in a paid or voluntary position, including those who work with children on a temporary, supply or locum basis. (Note that “All schools” includes academies, Free Schools, independent schools and all types of maintained schools.)

C2G says: If you are a Chair of Governors dealing with allegations against the headteacher:

  • Inform your local authority designated officer (LADO) as a priority, to get advice on the action to take. (See point 9). (Tip: Find the LADO’s telephone number by googling “lado + your local authority” – this should bring up the local safeguarding board’s contact details: eg Devon and Wigan)
  • Do NOT automatically suspend the person against whom the allegation has been made.(See point 13)
  • Do not share information about the allegations with other governors (or anyone else) until you have discussed the matter with the LADO. (See point 20)
  • The GB has  a duty of care towards the person against whom the allegation has been made. There should be a named representative to keep them informed of the progress of the case, and if necessary, to offer support. (See points 3, 16 and 17)

Key points

  • If an allegation is made against a teacher the quick resolution of that allegation should be a clear priority to the benefit of all concerned. At any stage of consideration or investigation, all unnecessary delays should be eradicated.
  • In response to an allegation staff suspension should not be the default option. An individual should only be suspended if there is no reasonable alternative. If suspension is deemed appropriate, the reasons and justification should be recorded by the school and the individual notified of the reasons.
  • Allegations that are found to have been malicious should be removed from personnel records and any that are not substantiated, are unfounded or malicious should not be referred to in employer references.
  • Pupils that are found to have made malicious allegations are likely to have breached school behaviour policies. The school should therefore consider whether to apply an appropriate sanction, which could include temporary or permanent exclusion (as well as referral to the police if there are grounds for believing a criminal offence may have been committed).
  • All schools and FE colleges should have procedures for dealing with allegations. The procedures should make it clear that all allegations should be reported straight away, normally to the headteacher, principal or proprietor if it is an independent school. The procedures should also identify the person, often the chair of governors, to whom reports should be made in the absence of the headteacher or principal, or in cases where the headteacher or principal themselves are the subject of the allegation or concern. Procedures should also include contact details for the local authority designated officer (LADO) responsible for providing advice and monitoring cases.

Download the guidance here

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