Recently a long-running case come to a successful conclusion. It illustrates both the strengths and weaknesses of the regulatory system. Our client had, for whatever reason, fallen out of favour with his employer. As is often the case in such situations the employer seized upon some perceived misconduct and chose to dismiss. In this case in order to justify dismissal, the misconduct was described as relating to “safeguarding concerns”. In fact, all our client had done was offend a teenager by remarking on her appearance.
The weakness of the TRA is that those who process such allegations towards hearing do not necessarily have a great deal of knowledge about what is and what isn’t serious wrongdoing by a teacher. They are in large part reliant upon how the referring school describe the behaviour. That leaves them vulnerable to cases like this, where the referring school has made a mountain out of a molehill to pursue its own ends. The good news for the accused teacher is that the panel hearing the case bring a degree of expertise and common sense to bear on allegations like these and had little difficulty in concluding that the facts of the case neither breached teachers standards nor “fell significantly short of the standards expected of a professional’. Accordingly, the case was dismissed.
No press attended the hearing and, as the allegations were dismissed, the outcome has not been placed on the TRA’s website. Whilst our client is relieved that the system worked and the panel saw the case for what it was, it was obviously frustrating that from allegation in school to the conclusion of the case took two years.