Banned teacher registers to close

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The Independent Online
LOCAL AUTHORITIES were ordered to close unofficial teacher blacklists yesterday after a survey found that 39 councils held registers of staff banned from jobs in schools.

Estelle Morris, the schools minister, said she would be writing to councils instructing them to turn over their lists.

A survey by the BBC2 programme Just One Chance, broadcast last night, found that 1,000 teachers suspected of child abuse were on unofficial blacklists, but did not appear on the national register of banned teachers, known as "List 99".

Matt Dunkley, assistant director of education in East Sussex, said: "We may have somebody who has been found by us to have been guilty of, for example, a sexual assault on a child, but if that has not resulted in a criminal prosecution for whatever reason, the Department for Education is unlikely to put them on List 99 ... although we may be completely convinced of their guilt."

Teachers' leaders have backed List 99, but attacked the unofficial registers, saying it could lead to innocent staff being victimised. Olwyn Gunn, of the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers, said: "This is almost a vigilante approach. Unofficial lists fly in the face of justice."