When not to suspend staff

24th July 1998 at 01:00
ANAT Arkin's article (TES, July 3) stated that "suspension is justified where an employer is satisfied that a case is going to be one of gross misconduct".

An employer would be very unwise to suspend a teacher on these grounds, before any investigation had been undertaken. The employer could - and no doubt would - be accused of having pre-judged the inquiry.

Some examples of more usual reasons for suspending an employee might be:

* to protect that teacher's position; * where other people from whom witness statements could be required might be intimidated by the continued presence of that teacher at the school; * where the safety of a pupil or other person might be at risk; * where the good reputation of the school might be put at risk.

Many authorities will have prepared disciplinary procedures, which will usually have been adopted within schools. which will often cite when suspending an employee would be justified.

Tony Parker Head of legal services Northampton County Council

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