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Gove promises ‘new deal’ for teachers

6 October 2010

The Education Secretary has promised that the rules which have spread a ‘no touch’ mentality amongst teachers are to be scrapped.

At present, physically restraining or comforting a child is a legal minefield for teachers, with hundreds of pages of rules and guidance to sift through to ensure that they do not act unlawfully.

Children’s Rights Groups describe the plans as dangerous and in potential breach of human rights and child protection laws. However, cutting red tape, clarifying and shrinking guidance in this area, and moving towards a common-sense approach is largely welcome. If the threshold at which teachers can be accused of inappropriate behaviour towards pupils is increased, fewer legitimate claims can be brought against them.

Gove has already dispensed with a duty on schools to record and report to parents instances where staff used force on pupils, and plans to grant anonymity for teachers accused of unprofessional conduct (until charges are pressed). It remains to be seen how much further he will go.

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Partner and Head of Education

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