In particular, the Schools Minister has indicated that only 3% of investigations resulted in a criminal caution or conviction for the teacher.
The Allegations of abuse against teachers and non-teaching staff: Interim findings from a survey of local authority designated officers (DFE-RB163) report [PDF] comments that -
It is essential that any allegation of abuse made against a teacher or other member of staff is dealt with properly and promptly. This means quickly, fairly and consistently, and in a way that provides effective protection for the child whilst protecting the rights and livelihood of the person accused. In The Coalition: our programme for government, the government made a commitment to give anonymity to teachers accused by pupils and take other measures to protect against false allegations. The Education Bill currently before Parliament contains measures to introduce reporting restrictions preventing the publication of a teacher’s identity when accused by, or on behalf of, a pupil until the point that they are charged with an offence.The key findings were -
There has been no centralised national data collection on the number and nature of allegations of abuse referred to Local Authority Designated Officers (LADOs) since 20071. The Department for Education (DfE) commissioned York Consulting LLP to conduct research into the scale and nature of allegations of abuse made against teachers and the processes for handling these at the local authority and school level. This research brief presents the interim findings of the research based on evidence from a census survey of LADOs in 2011. The survey collected data on allegations of abuse made against teachers, non-teaching staff in schools and further education (FE) teachers referred to LADOs in the period 1st April 2009 to 31st March 2010. Questions explored the number and nature of allegations referred, investigative action taken, time taken to conduct investigations and outcomes.
• The total number of allegations of abuse referred to LADOs in the 116 LAs responding to the survey in the reporting period was 12,086.
• The number of allegations made against school teachers was 2,827. This constitutes almost a quarter of the total number of allegations referred to LADOs. Whilst the figures are not directly comparable, the proportion of teachers accused of abuse is substantially higher than that reported in the DCSF 2007 survey.
• The number of allegations made against non-teaching school staff was 1,709 constituting 14% of the total number of allegations referred.
• The number of allegations made against FE teachers was 106 constituting 1% of the total number referred.
• The majority of allegations of abuse made against school teachers and non-teaching staff were physical in nature (56%, n=1,584 and 49%, n=842 respectively). Allegations made against FE teachers were most frequently about sexual abuse (49%, n=52) although this figure should be interpreted with caution, given the low base of allegations against FE teachers reported.
• Almost a fifth of school teachers (18%, n=459) were suspended whilst the allegation was being investigated.
• For non-teaching school staff and FE teachers the figures for suspension were 29% (n=431) and 36% (n=36) respectively.
• Over a tenth of allegations against school teachers (12%, n=336) and 19% (n=323) of allegations against non-teaching school staff were subject to a criminal investigation according to LADOs.
• For FE teachers, this figure was higher at 31% (n=33) which is likely to be a reflection of the higher number of allegations that were sexual in nature.
• The majority of allegation investigations (74%, n=3,183) were concluded within three months or less.
• Nearly half of the allegations made against school teachers (47%, n=1,234) and two-fifths of allegations against non-teaching school staff (41%, n=639) were found to be unsubstantiated, malicious or unfounded.
• Nearly a fifth of allegations against teachers (19%, n=497) and 15% of allegations against non-teaching school staff (n=236) were considered to be unfounded and just 2% (n=56) to be malicious. Of the allegations made against FE teachers, 16% (n=16) were found to be unsubstantiated, 7% unfounded (n=7) and none malicious.