Nanny in action;Leading Article

24th September 1999 at 01:00
THE PROPOSED legislation to criminalise sexual relationships between teachers and sixth-formers is an unhappy example of an overbearing nanny state in action. The clue is in Home Office Minister Lord Bassam's assertion that "There is widespread public and parental concern about this problem." Oh, is there? Two highly-publicised recent cases seem to be the main evidence. Can it be that the Government sees the opportunity for a bit of cheap acclaim - at the expense of good practice and common sense?

In fact, the guidelines we already have (TES, page 11) are perfectly adequate. Teachers can be, and are, drummed out of the profession for inappropriate relationships with pupils. Enforcing the current age of consent properly would be a far more effective way of protecting the vulnerable. The danger is that the climate of fear already infecting our primary schools - where young men are reluctant to enter the profession and crying children go unhugged - is about to enter the sixth form too. All the best teachers take risks in nurturing pupils; only a tiny proportion overstep the mark.

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