16th May 2003 at 01:00
How can we check that a teacher from overseas would be suitable for working with children?

Unless the person concerned has been resident in this country for some time, there will be no point in contacting the Criminal Records Bureau which deals solely with UK records.

Some countries maintain records and one may contact the relevant police office where appropriate. Where this is not possible, great care must be taken to verify that the person is genuine, and to check the accuracy of claimed qualifications and personal background.

References should be taken directly from referees and not from the applicant.

Help in dealing with these applications may be obtained from the teachers'

misconduct team at the Department for Education and Skills, Mowden Hall, Darlington, using their e-mail address:

What rights does a permanently-excluded pupil have at a panel hearing of the case?

It is a fundamental principle of natural justice that a person accused of wrong-doing has the right to know exactly what is alleged and the right of defence against that allegation.

This is as true of an exclusion hearing as it is of a case in the courts, and anyone who was denied that right would be able to seek judicial review as a remedy for the injustice.

At an exclusion hearing, it is the parents who are appealing against the decision, rather than the pupil unless, of course, the case involves a student over 18.

It is for the parents, or their representative, to present their case. But, as they are entitled to call evidence, it would be entirely reasonable to ask the pupil to give his or her version of events, if they so wish.

Equally, of course, the headteacher and the panel members may ask the pupil questions, to clarify and test that evidence.

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