In recent research commissioned by edapt, 86% of the teachers surveyed said that protection against allegations was “very important” to them, and 12% “important”. Allegations are a frightening prospect for teachers, and it is important for you to know that support and representation will be there if you face an allegation by a pupil.
The legal picture
The Employment Rights Act 1996, Section 98, will underpin the process an employer should follow when investigating an allegation, as with any disciplinary issue. This is supported by guidance by Acas
If the allegation relates to a child protection issue, Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 requires local authorities to investigate any cases where a child is suspected to be suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm.
A survey* of local authorities in 2011 suggested that almost one fifth of teachers (18%) and almost one third of school support staff (29%) who had an allegation made against them by a pupil were suspended whilst the allegation was being investigated. (For more information about suspension, click here.)
Suspension should only be considered by a school where there has been an allegation that may lead to dismissal, where the school believes a child or children are at risk, or where an allegation warrants investigation by the police.
If a school receives an allegation against a teacher from a student, the school must first put the allegation in writing to the teacher. They then have to investigate the allegation, and decide whether to refer it to the local authority, which is responsible for conducting an investigation if the child is believed to be at risk, and deciding whether the case needs to be referred to the police.
If the investigation finds the allegation to be substantiated, it will then be treated as a disciplinary issue, in which the school will follow its disciplinary procedures. Click here for more information. If it is a child protection issue, the school will be advised by their local authority on procedures to follow.
*DfE, 2011. “Allegations of abuse against teachers and non-teaching staff”
If you are facing an allegation, edapt can offer both HR advice and legal support and representation.
Sign up to edapt services for a wealth of HR advice at your fingertips. Once you’ve signed up, simply pick up the phone, email or contact us through live internet chat for answers to any questions about allegations. For more information about our services,, click here: For teachers.
* Survey and Infographic Source: DfE, 2011. “Allegations of abuse against teachers and non-teaching staff”