Letter: Abusive teachers

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I am writing to clarify comments made by me which are extensively quoted in your article "End to teacher blacklist ordered" (28 October). Stripped of their context, my remarks can, and have been, interpreted as meaning that I know of teachers who are working in East Sussex who are guilty of abusive action against children, and that I can do nothing about it.

This is not the case. My comments related to teachers dismissed by my authority for abusive acts against children. We have put their cases to the Department of Education and Employment for inclusion on List 99, the national register of staff banned from working in schools. They have been rejected by the DfEE, usually because there is no criminal conviction of the teacher. We have satisfied ourselves and the schools' governors sufficiently of their guilt to sack them and ban them from our schools. However, because of the unrealistically high standards of proof required for List 99, they are free to teach anywhere else in the country.

Those of us working in this field have to ensure children's safety and adequately protect teachers' employment rights. Under the current system we have got the balance wrong, and it is not in favour of the children.


Assistant Director of Education

East Sussex County Council