Soham lessons stray across the border

16th July 2004 at 01:00
The education committee is to consider the recommendations of the Bichard inquiry into the Soham murders and will issue its observations in the autumn, when it also expects to have the Executive's response to its report.

The Bichard report severely criticised police handling of the case, which allowed Ian Huntley to gain a job as a school caretaker despite being previously accused of sex offences against under-16s. But the report also states that Soham Village College, the Cambridgeshire school involved, should not have accepted Huntley's job references so readily.

While its recommendations are largely confined to tightening procedures south of the border, some proposals, such as a licence or ID card for those cleared to work with children, may have UK-wide ramifications.

The Educational Institute of Scotland believes Scotland has anticipated many of the Bichard recommendations, but the Scottish Secondary Teachers'

Association gave evidence to the inquiry and believes its findings have relevance north of the border.

David Eaglesham, the SSTA's general secretary, said the union would be taking up some of the issues with Jack McConnell, the First Minister. It wants to know how any improvements are to be implemented in Scotland and how checks on staff from overseas are to be handled.

The role of professional bodies such as the general teaching councils also required to be considered.

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