Power to strike teachers off

6th November 1998 at 00:00
BBC TV's programme Just One Chance on October 27 revealed that some local authorities have secret blacklists of teachers not on List 99 but suspected of posing a threat to children, although there is nothing to stop such teachers moving to another authority.

In Scotland, the situation is more rigorous. The Scottish Office wrote to all local authorities four years ago asking that if they dismissed a teacher for gross professional misconduct they should report this to the General Teaching Council. A criminal prosecution or police involvement is not a prerequisite. This reporting is not statutory, but Scottish local authorities comply with it.

Cases referred to the GTC are considered using the standard proof of beyond reasonable doubt. The GTC has the power to strike teachers off its register, preventing them from working for an LEA. Its power does not extend to independent schools, but many would report matters of misconduct to it.

Allegations against teachers need to be investigated thoroughly, as false allegations are made, but if the new English and Welsh GTCs were given the same powers as the Scottish GTC, there would be no need for secret lists.

Kay Driver

General secretary

Professional Association of Teachers

Derby

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