False trend as cases come into the open

14th September 2007 at 01:00
Last week The TES (Sex allegations go public) stated that the General Teaching Council is anticipating an "upsurge", even a "deluge" of sexual misconduct cases. This is not the case and is not our view.

Currently the Department for Children, Schools and Families makes the decision about whether a teacher should be barred from working with children altogether on safety or welfare grounds. From autumn 2008 this will be done by the Independent Safeguarding Authority.

It is true that some cases, which fall short of any threshold currently applied by the department, or in the future the ISA, would be referred to the GTC to deal with. It will be for the council to determine whether the behaviour amounts to unacceptable professional conduct.

It is important to state that the GTC has well justified confidence in the high professional and ethical standards of teachers, so it would be absurd to expect many instances of this type of unacceptable professional conduct to occur. Indeed our concern is that because any cases, however few in number, will normally be heard in public, there could be a false perception by the public and by teachers that such problems are increasing.

Keith Bartley

chief executive of the General Teaching Council for England

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