Twerkgate: Are camera phones the end of teacher fun?

Unions warn teachers about social media after newspaper releases video of teachers ‘twerking’ at end-of-half-term party

Twerkgate: Unions have warned teachers about the dangers of social media

A union leader has defended teachers who were allegedly shown “twerking and grinding” at an end-of-half-term party in a video shared with pupils on social media.

The video, posted on the MailOnline website, shows another teacher dancing with an empty bottle of alcohol at the party, said to have taken place in a PE changing room at an East London school, after children had left the premises on the last day before half-term.

The video was allegedly shot by a teaching assistant who shared it on social media with pupils, according to the Mail Online, which described  it was “shocking,”  and described the teachers as “staggering”, "twerking" and "grinding".

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However, Mary Bousted, joint-general secretary of the NEU teaching union, said teachers had the right to have a party at the end of term, and said such behaviour was not a reflection on their ability to teach.

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She said: “They had probably been working around 50 hours a week and they are human like everybody else.

“When you’re in school with pupils around you there is a code of behaviour that is important, but that doesn’t apply at this particular moment. There is a difference between being in a school during the working day when you are a role model for children, and being at an end-of-term party and letting your hair down.”

The video, reportedly filmed two years ago after teachers had allowed students to leave early for half term, appeared online yesterday.

Dr Bousted said the video was “unfortunate” and "embarrassing” for the teachers shown. But she said there was a need to question the motives of the person who shared the video

She said: “Teachers need to be more guarded about [appearing on] social media than other professions – because you get this mock outrage  from people who don’t particularly like teachers.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said teachers needed to be aware : “Teachers are expected to uphold high professional standards, even when they are not at work.

“These are written into the nationally-agreed teacher standards. Undoubtedly, in an age of cameras on phones and the shareable ease of images and videos via social media, teachers will be acutely aware of the limitations on their social lives.

"This goes with the territory of being a teacher and is something that mentors and leaders are likely to emphasise in their induction and training of new teachers from the outset.”

The school, currently rated “inadequate”, has since undergone a change of leadership. The current  head said: "The school is now being run by highly experienced and skilled leadership team which adheres to the highest possible professional standards.”



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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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