One in five teachers face false allegations

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers
Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers
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More than one in five school staff have had a false allegation made against them by a pupil, a survey has found.

A further seven per cent said they have faced untrue claims from a student’s parent or family member. The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), which conducted the poll, said false allegations are blighting careers and putting added stress onto education workers.

One teacher with 22 years experience said she now feels vulnerable as pupils “twist things that are said”, while others said fear of being falsely accused was a key reason they are considering leaving the profession.

The survey found 22 per cent said they had faced a false allegation made by a pupil and 14.3 per cent had faced claims by a pupil’s parent or other family member.

More than a third of those polled (37.7 per cent) said that someone in their current school or college had had an untrue allegation made against them by a student, with a further 22.6 per cent saying a colleague had faced claims from a student’s relative.

Of those that said they had faced an allegation at some point, 69.5 per cent said the alleged incident was supposed to have taken place when they were working with a class or group of children, and nearly one in four (24.2 per cent) said it was supposed to have taken place on school or college premises outside of class.

ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: “It is only right and proper that children are protected and their welfare and safety must always come first, but the balance needs to be right so that teachers, heads and support staff do not suffer unnecessarily when false allegations are made against them.”

The survey questioned 685 members working in schools and colleges in England, Wales and Northern Ireland between February 19 and March 10.