To forgive, divine?;Opinion

12th February 1999 at 00:00
Teachers must not be seen in a place of public entertainment ... and must dress with due decorum at all times." The lists of do's and don'ts that tightly-buttoned-up school managers inflicted on teachers a century ago seem ridiculously prescriptive now.

The authors of these lists would be aghast to learn that in 1999 many English headteachers are prepared to consider employing a teacher who has a drugs conviction or has committed a minor assault or theft (see Research Focus, page 23). But who is right: the guardians of rectitude (circa 1899), or the liberal tendency of 1999? Should teachers be men and women of the utmost probity, or should reformed sinners be welcomed into the staffroom?

A forgiving nature is an essential human quality, but schools can never let their guard drop too far. Juvenile offences can sometimes be overlooked. However, bitter experience has taught the education service not to be too trusting. The extended system of police checks on all adults who work with children is a positive development, but it is a great shame - and potentially a tragedy - that it will not come into effect until 2001.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now