Lancashire

Teachers' appeal process unfair says Lancashire NUT

Classroom scene
Image caption The NUT says the current appeal system is unfair

A union is calling for sweeping changes to the way teachers appeal against being sacked.

Currently, the school's head carries out an investigation into complaints about teachers and then holds an inquiry with governors.

Teachers can appeal but the same head and governors sit in judgement.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) in Lancashire wants independent governors to decide on appeals.

Secretary of the union in Lancashire Ken Cridland: "Guilty teachers must be held to account but it does seem the system has got out of kilter.

"What could solve this is if the final appeal panel was a group of governors from another school.

"Governors would understand the problems of running a school but wouldn't be tainted by being directly connected with the school in question".

'Isn't fair'

Former Blackpool teacher David Roy, who was sacked from Collegiate High School but won his case for compensation for unfair dismissal at an industrial tribunal in August 2010, said the system is "shocking".

"It isn't really a fair system; you aren't going in front of a jury of people who don't know you and are going to independently assess the evidence that is given to them."

But the executive director in charge of education at Lancashire County Council Helen Denton does not see any need to change the disciplinary process.

She said: "It would be very difficult to see how the system could be changed to make it fairer."

Ms Denton said they advise schools to keep the majority of governors separate from any investigations that take place so they have independent governors for inquiries.

"By and large in Lancashire they do, and they keep at least six people, if they can, entirely free from any discussions whatsoever so they can have a panel of people to consider allegations that haven't had anything to do with the investigation."

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