Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Government’s response to school staff allegations ‘not enough…’

The government's response to the parliamentary report on allegations against school staff, published in November, is helpful, ASCL has said, but it does not go far enough in addressing the concerns identified in the original report from the Children, Schools and Families Committee.

ASCL Deputy General Secretary Martin Ward said: "It is good that the government has accepted a need to review its guidance for practitioners, but it is not clear that proposed changes will go far enough.

"The new guidance must strongly reinforce the authority of school leaders to determine what is a proportionate and sensible response. Heads should not be put under pressure, as they are now, to suspend staff and to call in children's services or the police for doubtful or minor allegations.

"It is not unusual for police investigations of even minor and obviously false allegations to drag on for three months and longer, and the government response concedes that this will continue to be the case for a significant minority of cases. This can make it hard for a member of staff ever to return from suspension, and the education system is losing some blameless and excellent people. Changes are needed to ensure that investigations are conducted as quickly as possible."

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