Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Child protection alert

Calls to the hotline indicate that some members have been concerned by the recent alarm raised by paediatricians - that they may be 'struck off' for honestly expressed beliefs that a parent has harmed a child - and wonder whether it applies to senior leaders in education as well.

Without commenting on a specific medical case, it is possible to say confidently that this would not be true in education. Educational leaders are not supposed to be experts in child protection. This is why in education there is an obligation to refer anything reported or suspected unless it is manifestly absurd.

The referral must be reasonable. However, it is not the school which will investigate in the first instance or take the decision to investigate or to prosecute.

The school is simply reporting what has been said and co-operating with those who are believed to have that expertise. Any subsequent disciplinary proceedings in school will be subject to fair process under the school's discipline procedures.

As long as members follow the guidance and act in accordance with procedures they are in no danger from the courts or from the General Teaching Council.

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