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1 Legal, contractual and legislative issues in teaching Adrian Joice Hull NASUWT Local Secretary.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Legal, contractual and legislative issues in teaching Adrian Joice Hull NASUWT Local Secretary."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Legal, contractual and legislative issues in teaching Adrian Joice Hull NASUWT Local Secretary

2 Talk Partners... 20 seconds What laws could you break whilst employed as a teacher?

3 libel – FaceBook, online slander - spoken sexual assault (allegations ) assault (allegations) Health and Safety at Work - negligence breach of contract – Welsh guy – rescue in Australia trial by … media, courts, school Governors etc Civil law deals with non criminal disputes between individuals, organisations and other bodies in which compensation is awarded to the victim. Criminal law deals with crime and the legal punishment of criminal offences. Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act) is criminal law aimed at protecting employees.

4 4 CONDITIONS OF SERVICE professional duties as required specific duties as may reasonably be required by head The “Blue Book” (School Teachers’ Pay & Conditions 2013) will apply in the vast majority of schools (but do check if teaching in an Academy)

5 5 PROFESSIONAL DUTIES teaching “other related activities” assessment and reports performance management development and training educational methods discipline health and safety: staff meetings public examinations

6 6 WORKING TIME 195 days of which 190 teaching days 1265 hours directed time the additional work clause which currently states “such additional hours as may be needed” Currently under threat from Mr. Gove

7 7 CK: “Blueprint for Sainthood.” TEACHERS’ STANDARDS : 2012, apply to PGCE+ PART TWO: PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT A teacher is expected to demonstrate consistently high standards of personal and professional conduct... throughout a teacher’s career. Teachers uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school: treating pupils with dignity….at all times observing proper boundaries appropriate to a teacher’s professional position not undermining fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law.... ensuring that personal beliefs are not expressed in ways which exploit pupils’ vulnerability or might lead them to break the law. (EDF, BNP) Teachers must have an understanding of, and always act within, the statutory frameworks which set out their professional duties and responsibilities.

8 8 HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK ACT 1974 Whilst it still exists cutting red tape... RIDDOR Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations

9 9 HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORK ACT 1974 Extreme? Bangladesh: 2 garment factory accidents = 1200+ dead. Paint brush incident - Scotland.

10 10 SCHOOL HEALTH AND SAFETY POLICY Should include:- general law and aims responsibilities of LEA/Academy Board, Governors and Head names of H&S Officer and Representatives duties of teachers and other staff expectations of pupils emergency procedures (evacuation – fire, flood, bomb) security issues doors, gates accident reporting and recording procedures – all incidents + RIDDOR school visits - risk assessment intruders and assaults medical facilities and arrangements monitor and review

11 11 DUTIES OF EMPLOYEES to take reasonable care –for their own safety –for the safety of others pupil, visitors, parents co-operate with those who have duties under the Act fire/safety inspector unlawful to misuse anything provided for the purposes of health or safety e.g. fire extinguishers as goalposts

12 12 DUTIES OF TEACHERS duty of care and duties under Act correspond must be familiar with the school’s Health & Safety policy … induction session You can’t ignore something and hope all will be well.....

13 13 DUTY OF CARE statutory - by legislation contractual - by contract pastoral - inherent in the role of teacher loco parentis

14 14 NEGLIGENCE an action which could reasonably have been expected to contribute, directly or indirectly, to causing harm to a pupil a failure to take action to prevent reasonably foreseeable harm to a pupil No win No fee.... Stainforth Beck 2000:13 years - same trip. River walk – low risk - 2 girls drowned Staff negligent? Inquest found accidental death. HSE prosecuted the council - £30,000 fine & £50,000 costs Staff suspended for 3 years.

15 15 EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES Equality Act 2010 (Disability Discrimination Act) The Equality Act is effective from day 1 of your employment. It is said to provide a modern, single legal framework with clear, streamlined law to more effectively tackle disadvantage and discrimination. Includes ‘protected characteristics’ of disability, sexuality, age, religion & belief, sex, gender reassignment, pregnancy & maternity, race, marriage & civil partnership See


17 17 Loco Parentis (in the place of a parent) Usually used to describe responsibilities of a teacher towards the pupil Common law duty/responsibility towards pupils

18 18 CHILDREN ACT 1989: Section3(5) “A person who ………has a duty of care of the child, may ….do what is reasonable ….for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the child’s welfare” ?? Nursery incidents – child walking home or railings

19 19 WHAT IS “REASONABLE” As in Conditions of Service, Duty of Care, this is not defined. If teacher knows or suspects harm or neglect – signs of abuse, behavioural change... Designated teacher CPO – aware? Then act, report it, otherwise could be professional negligence! School is not an investigation agency

20 20 Relationships With Pupils Sexual Offences Amendment (2000) Act Abuse of trust: Do not leave yourself vulnerable: –being alone with pupils open door & advise colleagues –giving pupils lifts accident, breakdown, allegation? –accepting or giving gifts to pupils –sending emails or text messages or contact on social networking sites Immediately discourage and report any obvious crushes which are developing COMMON SENSE – BE AWARE!


22 22 WHAT IS APPROPRIATE? Since the Children Act 1989 a myth has arisen that any physical contact with pupils is unlawful or unprofessional Some contact is unavoidable and, in some cases, essential However, how this contact takes place is a matter for some care as some actions can be misinterpreted.

23 23 APPROPRIATE CONTACT support during PE – misinterpretation?? comfort when distressed – KS1 + 2 first aid positioning hands on musical or craft instruments or, with FS children, computer mouse children with physical special needs children in danger of causing harm to themselves, others or property ….. but to stay safe, warn pupils what you are about to do

24 24 PHYSICAL RESTRAINT OF PUPILS Section 4, 1997 Education Act added new section 550A to 1996 Education Act. Defines circumstances where “reasonable” force may be used to stop or prevent violent behaviour. TEAM TEACH – handling of pupils at risk….

25 25 Consider alternative strategies - use force only if immediate risk Send for help Tell pupil to stop and warn of consequences Do not use contact which could be construed as indecent Tell pupil that force will cease when pupil complies with instruction Keep calm and do not display aggression Many more teachers are accused of assault than negligence… INCIDENT MANAGEMENT

26 26 Act on your own only in dire emergency Isolate offending pupil or remove other pupils from area of risk Send for assistance INCIDENT MANAGEMENT

27 27 WHEN RESTRAINT CAN BE USED to stop or prevent –committing a criminal offence –injuring themselves or others –causing damage to property including their own –engaging in conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline in the school this applies in school and during authorised out of school activities e.g. swimming, visits

28 28 Seek immediate advice of union Rep Make prompt oral report to Head - general Written report as soon as possible but only hand in after it has been checked by union – I placed my hand gently in the small of his back and soothingly guided him out of the classroom ….. He had been an absolute pain and called me a “Twit” and so I lost it (because he has always known how to wind me up) and so I shoved him out of the classroom and, unfortunately he smashed into the wall and, yes, all the class saw what happened...... REPORTING INCIDENTS

29 29 Establish good habits Know school procedures and policies Know the relevant regulations (ignorance is no defence) If unsure, then ask or research If there is a problem then get in touch with your union as soon as possible: confidential advice Remember “professional distance”. You are a teacher not a friend. You could be a teacher who is friendly BUT …….

30 30 e-safety Don’t use school computers for personal use Don’t give out your mobile number or email address to pupils – is your phone password protected? Don’t add pupils as friends on Facebook (or their parents!) Westcott Be careful with social networking, e.g. Twitter What is on YouTube or the web about you? Know your schools ‘Acceptable Use Policy’ when it comes to internet access, photographing pupils, etc. TRUE CRYPT, Recuvva, Ccleaner etc

31 31 To repeat… ….because it can’t be said enough these days!

32 32 Where next? Remember – teaching is a great career. It’s demanding both physically and emotionally but exceedingly rewarding….

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