How mud sticks

24th July 2009 at 01:00

Voice welcomed the report on allegations against school staff ("Heads too quick to believe false allegations", TES, July 17), although with a number of reservations.

Children must be protected, but the teachers and support staff who work with them are entitled to protection too. We know lives and careers of innocent people have been ruined by false allegations of abuse, even after they have been acquitted of any offence.

Publishing someone's name in a newspaper when they have been accused of something but not charged, is trial by media. A small paragraph on an inside page weeks later reporting that the charges have been dropped is not acceptable. Mud sticks.

Being falsely accused and suspended can cause severe personal distress and long-term damage to the accused's career.

Many of our members have left the profession and suffered damage to their health as a result.

The report's call to re-examine the "arguments for and against a statutory right of anonymity for those accused" does not go far enough. The time for "examining arguments again" has passed.

It is time for teachers and support staff to be given some basic rights and safeguards. Among these should be the right to anonymity unless and until charged with a criminal offence.

Philip Parkin, General secretary, Voice.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today