The Department for Education have updated their statutory guidance for dealing with allegations of abuse.
About this guidance
This guidance issued from the Department for Education is statutory. This means recipients (including LEA’s, Schools, Govenors etc, must have regard to it when carrying out duties relating to handling allegations of abuse against teachers and other staff.
What legislation does this guidance relate to?
- the Children Act 1989
- section 175 of the Education Act 2002 (local authorities, governing bodies of maintained schools and institutions in the further education sector)
- section 157 of the Education Act 2002 and the Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010
- the Children Act 2004
- section 11 of the Children Act 2004 (other agencies).
Who is the guidance for?
This guidance is aimed at all schools1, local authorities, governing bodies and the FE sector. This guidance relates to all adults working with children and young people, whether in a paid or voluntary position, including those who work with children on a temporary, supply or locum basis.
- If an allegation is made against a teacher the quick resolution of that allegation should be a clear priority to the benefit of all concerned. At any stage of consideration or investigation, all unnecessary delays should be eradicated.
- In response to an allegation staff suspension should not be the default option. An individual should only be suspended if there is no reasonable alternative. If suspension is deemed appropriate, the reasons and justification should be recorded by the school and the individual notified of the reasons.
- Allegations that are found to have been malicious should be removed from personnel records and any that are not substantiated, are unfounded or malicious should not be referred to in employer references.
- Pupils that are found to have made malicious allegations are likely to have breached school behaviour policies. The school should therefore consider whether to apply an appropriate sanction, which could include temporary or permanent exclusion (as well as referral to the police if there are grounds for believing a criminal offence may have been committed).
- All schools and FE colleges should have procedures for dealing with allegations. The procedures should make it clear that all allegations should be reported straight away, normally to the head teacher, principal or proprietor if it is an independent school. The procedures should also identify the person, often the chair of governors, to whom reports should be made in the absence of the headteacher or principal, or in cases where the headteacher or principal themselves are the subject of the allegation or concern. Procedures should also include contact details for the local authority designated officer (LADO) responsible for providing advice and monitoring cases.
1 All schools includes academies, Free Schools, independent schools and all types of maintained schools.
The complete guidance can be found here