Essex: Teachers urged to protect themselves from false allegations by union (From Essex County Standard)
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Essex: Teachers urged to protect themselves from false allegations by union
9:00am Thursday 8th August 2013 in News
ESSEX teachers should protect themselves better from false allegations of physical and sexual abuse against pupils, according to a leading union.
The call comes after fresh statistics revealed 96 allegations of a physical and sexual nature were recorded by Essex County Council in the last two academic years in nursery, primary and secondary schools.
Of that 96, 17 resulted in teachers being either suspended or dismissed.
Jean Quinn, of the National Union of Teachers north-east Essex branch, said: “Our advice would be for teachers not to put themselves in a situation where they are alone and could find it difficult to defend themselves.
“An accusation is just one person’s word against another.”
She added: “As far as possible, teachers should keep children in a group but there will be situations when teachers will find themselves alone with children and I have heard of children using these allegations as a threat, which is worrying.”
Mrs Quinn also said headteachers will also often deal with allegations in-house, resulting in a note being made on a teacher’s file, which would not be shown in official statistics.
The figures are based on schools which have informed the county council of an outcome.
Of the 96 allegations, 61 were reported in 2011/12 and 35 in 2012/13.
The figures are made up of 72 physical allegations and 24 allegations of a sexual nature.
An Essex County Council spokeswoman said: “All schools across Essex must have a child protection and safeguarding policy to ensure the safety and wellbeing of pupils.
“If schools have concerns they can, and do, contact our Safeguarding Service which is always available to provide guidance and support to teachers.”
Currently, there are a number of options open to teachers who have had an allegation made against them, such as working from home or carrying out different duties.
Suspension or dismissal is seen as a last resort.
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