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Teachers charged with sex offences in Gloucestershire

By Ben_Falconer  |  Posted: February 26, 2014

GloucestershireConstabulary

FOUR teachers have been charged with criminal offences including sexual offences in the last five years in Gloucestershire.

Figures released by Gloucestershire Constabulary reveal that the four were charged with seven offences between them, ranging from theft to sexual assault.

A union leader said criminals have no place in the classroom but said dozens more false allegations against teachers damage the profession.

A Freedom of Information Act request made by the Gloucester Citizen showed that between February 1, 2009 and January 31, 2014, four people whose occupation was recorded as that of a teacher were charged with criminal offences.

There was one assault without injury, one assault with injury, one of possessing an obscene publication, three of sexual assault on a female aged 13 or over, and one theft from a house.

John Pemberthy, divisional secretary of the Gloucestershire Association of the National Union of Teachers, said there is no place in teaching for criminals and all allegations should be properly - but there are many false allegations which could be handled better.

“There are about 6,000 teachers in Gloucestershire,” he said. “It is a very small number that let the profession and children down.

“We never apologise for or defend people who engage in criminal activity, particularly violent or sexual.

“There are many more allegations that never result in a charge. Amongst my members there are dozens of false allegations made. It’s very difficult for a teacher to deal with - they can live in fear of a knock at the door.

“Of course all allegations should be fully investigated but standing guidance on when suspension is necessary is quite good. It should not be a knee-jerk reaction.”

Last month trainee primary school teacher Jolan Hall from Aylburton, admitted 10 counts of making indecent images of children and two charges of distributing them, and he cannot join the profession now.

In 2001, a Kingswood, Wotton-under-Edge teacher was convicted of common assault on a 10-year-old boy but that was overturned on appeal after the judge said the boy who made the claim had been “dishonest”.

A Gloucestershire County Council spokeswoman said: "We work closely with all schools, including independent schools and academies, to ensure children are safeguarded.

"All teachers have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) disclosure or equivalent (previously CRB) which indicates whether they have a criminal record. We also deliver safer recruitment training which leads to an accreditation.

"Every school in the county has at least one member of staff who holds this accreditation and that person sits on the interview panel for each employment within a school.

"When a school has a concern that an existing member of staff might not be suitable to work with children, or an allegation of abuse is made, the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) convenes a multi agency meeting under the government’s allegations management process.

"Police, social care and the school attend this meeting which may result in a criminal or disciplinary investigation, either of which could mean the member of staff being referred to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) if concerns are high enough.

"Each school in Gloucestershire has a Designated Child Protection Officer and a Safeguarding Governor. All school staff receive child protection training every three years which includes training on whistle blowing and allegations management.

"Schools are audited annually on all aspects of safeguarding. In addition, we advise schools in Gloucestershire to ensure that pupils know they can report any concerns to any member of staff and they will be listened to."

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