THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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March 2009

False witness

Teachers' careers 'blighted' by false allegations - Telegraph.

Consider these sinister words of a spokesman for for the Department of Children, Schools and Families quoted in the linked article;

"We are also looking at whether guidance should be amended to make clear that accusations which have been demonstrated to be untrue do not need to be included in teachers' references."

Excuse me?! How about ignoring all accusations which have not been "demonstrated" to be true? Who on earth would want to work for an employer with such an attitude?

Dreamstime_8125481Is it any wonder that, according to 2001 research, 40% of teacher trainees never join the profession? A brief exposure to our classrooms during training is enough to put them off. It is surprising that 18% leave within the first three years? Or that 85.2% of qualified teachers leaving the profession say they do so simply so to "get out," rather than because of the attractions of another job?

A society which doesn't value its teachers is doomed. There is no more important job. Yet in Britain, teachers in the state sector face the double whammy of low-pay and low-status. At any time, a teacher may be falsely accused and his or her guilt will be assumed until disproven. Even if nothing comes of the allegation, it remains on their record.

It takes better-than-average courage to confront a stroppy child who has been given such power by the state. No wonder there are, to put it mildly, discipline problems in state schools.

Lord Bingham on Liberty

The Convention on Modern Liberty: Lord Bingham: Why this debate on our rights and freedoms is so timely and important | Comment is free |
The Guardian has the video of Lord Bingham's excellent speech at the Convention on Modern Liberty yesterday in London. I can't embed it here, so please hold your nose and head over to the Guardian site. It is worth it.

h/t Martin