Teachers at risk of unfounded allegations from pupils, union warns

Schools and education authorities must do more to protect teachers from the risk of suspension, union chiefs said.

Scottish school teachers at risk of unfounded allegations from pupils, NASUWT union warns iStock

Scottish teachers are vulnerable to unfounded allegations when enforcing pupil behaviour policies, union representatives have warned.

The NASUWT union says schools and education authorities must do more to protect teachers from the risk of suspension.

In some cases allegations can result in criminal charges, they said.

The union will debate the issue at its conference in Aberdeen on Friday.

A motion at the conference will note with “concern and great sadness” the death of a teacher in the Borders who is said to have taken their own life while awaiting trial for an alleged assault on a pupil.

Unions say implementation of pupil behavioural policies leaves teachers vulnerable to pupil allegationsiStock

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT’s general secretary, said: “Of course it is vitally important that teachers act responsibly, lawfully and safely in all their interactions with pupils.

“However, there is clear concern from teachers that they do not always receive the backing they need from school leaders and employers in implementing school policies on behaviour.

“This leaves teachers vulnerable to allegations from pupils and parents, which in some cases can result in lengthy suspensions and even criminal charges.

“The impact on the teacher can be devastating and often career ending, even if they are eventually found to have done nothing wrong.”

Mike Corbett, NASUWT’s officer for Scotland, called for more guidance from the Scottish Government.

He said: “The NASUWT is clear that every allegation made against a teacher must be investigated and action taken where there is evidence to suggest there is a case to answer.

“However, this must be balanced with a greater duty of care to staff facing investigations arising from their implementation of school policies on pupil behaviour and conduct.”

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.