Hundreds of teachers accused of having sexual relationships with pupils
More than 950 teachers and support staff have been suspended, disciplined, or dismissed following allegations during the past five years.
More than 950 teachers have been accused of having sexual relationships with pupils in the last five years, official figures reveal today.
A Freedom of Information request asked 200 local authorities how many staff were suspended, disciplined, or dismissed after being accused of having some form of sexual relationship with a student.
Some 959 teachers and support staff were listed by 137 councils who returned figures, and of those, at least 254 led to a police charge, according the FOI request for BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat programme.
However, it is not clear how many of these led to a prosecution or a conviction, or were dismissed because of a lack of evidence.
A further 42 councils said they did not hold the statistics or could not hand them over because of costs or data protection laws.
Many of the authorities that did not have the figures said it was because schools in their area had outsourced HR provisions to private firms. Councils also have no control over academy schools.
Since 2001 it has been illegal for an adult in a position of trust, like staff in schools and colleges, to have sex with an under 18-year-old they are responsible for even though the age of consent is 16.
Newsbeat heard from ‘Ella’, not her real name, who says her teacher began to offer her one-to-one lessons when she was 15.
“I had a crush on this guy so I was really flattered by the attention,“ she said.
She says he kissed her in a classroom and they began to meet outside of school: “Very quickly it progressed from a kiss to him starting to want more.“
“He would put his hand down my top and then the next time that I would go back he would try and do it again.“ Ella says her teacher forced her to have sex by telling her it was how adults proved they loved each other.
“I said to him I’m not ready, I do not want to, I’m not comfortable, and he just sort of ignored it,“ she said. Although rumours spread around her school at the time, she was never properly questioned.
It was only when she reached her 20s that she found the confidence to go to police. During an investigation another victim came forward.
Her teacher was given a 12-year prison sentence after being found guilty of rape, indecent assault and another serious sexual assault.
Both the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) say any teacher that abuses their position of trust should face the full force of the law.
But both unions say they also have serious concerns about the impact of false accusations on teachers’ lives, careers and health while malicious claims are investigated.
Christine Blower, the general secretary of the NUT said: “There can be misunderstandings and malicious allegations are made, so it is critical that investigations are carried out quickly with due process.“ （mirror.co.uk）