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Anonymity for teachers

16 November 2011

Where an allegation has been made by a pupil, the Education Act 2011 now makes it an offence for anyone to publish information about the teacher before charges are brought.  ‘Publish’ is widely defined and would include the internet and other public communication, including Twitter.

Two questions pose themselves.  Why do teachers require this special level of protection?  Will it ensure that no-one finds out about the allegation until charges are brought?

In theory at least, the law is designed to stop the "devastating consequences” for teachers who face fabricated allegations, but it is hard to see how the consequences suggested are greater than those faced by a person falsely accused of a serious sexual offence.  Many will also ask why these plans for anonymity do not extend to protect other staff, including teaching assistants and teachers at further education colleges.  Are their consequences any less devastating?

In reality, whilst publication in newspapers and on the internet may now be prohibited, the real damage is done by the local gossip resulting from an allegation being made.  This new law can have no impact on that.

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