What the law says on advice

7th February 1997 at 00:00
The legal fears most often voiced by teachers are the effects of Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act and the implications of Circular 594 from the Department for Education.

Ms Lenderyou emphasises that Section 28 - the clause prohibiting promotion of homosexuality - does not apply to schools at all, but to local authorities.

Concerns about the circular centre on the warning against giving individuals contraceptive advice, and the instruction that heads and parents should be told about any confidences about underage sex.

The Sex Education Forum says it would not be good practice for anyone unqualified to give contraceptive advice, but there was nothing to prevent a teacher telling a pupil where he or she could get such information - from the GP, for example. It was also sensible to set limits on confidences at the outset - pupils should role-play rather than discuss their own problems in the classroom.

Those asking to tell the teacher something in confidence should be told that this could not be guaranteed, as the teacher would have to decide as an adult on what had been said. But if the pupil needed protection or help, the teacher should promise to stay with him or her while things were resolved.

The circular did allow headteachers to insist that staff informed them of any confidences made in them by pupils.

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