Teacher bans soar under more 'rigorous' system

Almost 100 barred in England in first year of new agency

The number of teachers being banned from classrooms in England has vastly increased since the introduction of a new system for disciplining the profession. Almost 100 teachers were barred in the Teaching Agency's first year. The agency heard accusations of teacher misconduct inside and outside school hours, including criminal activity.

The General Teaching Council for England (GTC), which preceded the agency, barred 68 teachers in 2011-12, 33 in 2010-11 and 13 in 2009-10. In the first year of the new system, introduced in March 2012, 98 teachers - almost three-quarters of those who attended hearings - were banned, figures reveal.

Andy Peart, head of legal services at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said that teachers were being barred from the profession because the agency, now renamed the National College for Teaching and Leadership, does not have the option to impose lesser sanctions. Only serious cases of misconduct are referred for hearings.

"There is a fairly rigorous filtering system now, which weeds out cases where prohibition is unlikely or the panel will not be able to make a finding," said Tim Glover, solicitor for the Association of School and College Leaders. "If your only sanction is prohibition then you are only going to get the most serious cases, and you are going to deal with them severely."

The GTC was scrapped by education secretary Michael Gove soon after he took office in May 2010, amid complaints of inefficiency. The first year of the new system cost #163;2.9 million, compared with #163;4.2 million for the GTC's final year.

A Department for Education spokesman said that serious cases of misconduct are now being dealt with more quickly and at less of a cost to taxpayers. "Only serious misconduct cases, not cases of incompetence, are considered, meaning we can act swiftly and efficiently to deal with them."

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