ONE MEMBER of teaching staff has been struck off every other school day for the last two years, according to new analysis of Government figures.
Typical causes for being sacked include forming relationships with pupils, taking drugs and alcohol onto school premises, and failing to protect vulnerable students. Headteachers and other senior staff are among those reprimanded by National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) since the start of 2014.
Of the 230 investigations which advanced to NCTL panel stage for a decision during that time, 194 were banned from the profession - roughly one case every two days for each of the 190 days in a school year.Among the 194, some 46 related to them either being convicted of an offence or receiving a caution for crimes ranging from battery and fraud to voyeurism and motoring convictions.
The majority of investigations (159) featured allegations against the staff member relating to sexual activity, inappropriate relationships or general inappropriate behaviour. Fraud, falsifying documents and financial irregularities featured in 41 cases, dating back to the start of last year.
A Department for Education spokesman said: “Nothing is more important than keeping our children safe, and where there is evidence that children are at risk we will not hesitate to take the strongest possible action. Teachers are expected to demonstrate consistently high standards of personal and professional conduct, and where they are guilty of professional misconduct, we have tightened guidelines to keep them out of the classroom.”
Allegations involving alcohol (20), exam malpractice (17) and safeguarding issues (11) also featured.
The majority (148) of investigations involved male staff, this is despite females making up 80 per cent of the full-time equivalent number of employees working in schools, according to the latest government figures. There were just 80 complaints against women, although the names, age and sex of staff members brought before the panel was withheld on a handful of occasions.
Staff in the 30s were more likely to be investigated than any other age group, accounting for more than one-in-four panel decision (28 per cent). Those in their 40s (26 per cent) and 50s (25 per cent) were more likely to be investigated than those in their 20s (11 per cent), 60s (nine per cent) and 70s (one per cent), analysis of the NCTL figures showed.
Of those investigated, more than 100 were struck off completely with no scope for a return to education.
The new data comes from a Press Association analysis of Government figures.
National Union of Teachers general secretary Christine Blower said: “Every case of teacher misconduct of course needs to be treated seriously and investigated effectively for the safety of pupils.
“It has to be remembered however that out of the hundreds of thousands of teachers overall the number of cases of such serious misconduct within the profession are relatively low.”
Government figures from 2011 show the majority of allegations brought against school staff are false and never reach any disciplinary procedure or prosecution.
Ms Blower added: “The process for investigating and considering allegations is often drawn out, and far too frequently teachers are suspended for long periods on flimsy and unsubstantiated evidence.
“What is important is that any allegations are investigated thoroughly and quickly, according to fair and transparent processes, so that teachers and parents can have faith in the systems for dealing with misconduct.”
Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “According to the latest data 454,900 teachers are employed in state schools in England. The number banned therefore represents 0.04% of the workforce.
“Schools in England adhere to the highest professional standards and school leaders and governors act decisively and promptly in cases of misconduct in the recognition that one single case is one too many.”