If you need advice on whistleblowing in the education sector

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Advice on whistleblowing in the education sector

What should you do as a teacher or school staff member who feels there is injustice or wrongdoing in your school? Does your school have systems in place to ensure that concerned teachers and pupils can report concerns and feel protected?

The Department for Education (DfE) and organisations such as Public Concern at Work (PCaW) are continually encouraging those who work in education to report any acts of wrongdoing without fear of reprisal. We fully agree with this outlook, and we are ready to support you with any legal advice or services you need.

Whistleblowing in schools: case study

There was a high-profile case in 2015, known as the ‘Trojan Horse plot’, which involved a trust school in Birmingham. The plot centred on an alleged move by a small group of hard-line Islamists to seize control of a small number of secular Birmingham schools, with the intention of then pushing extremist ideologies onto the pupils.

A large-scale investigation by the DfE, in conjunction with the police, led to disciplinary proceedings being brought by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) against several of the plotters concerned. Although the proceedings were dropped after the NCTL found that there were numerous serious procedural errors in the investigation, the case illustrates the importance of people coming forward to report wrongdoing in order to protect vulnerable people in society – in this case, schoolchildren.

The government has produced a whitepaper, Whistleblowing: Guidance for Employers and Code of Practice, which states that all organisations should take “all reasonable steps to maintain the confidentiality of the whistleblower where it is requested”. It is also worth noting that the Trojan Horse case caused disbelief, and it is likely that further legal action will be taken in respect of the disclosures.

How can a school prepare for and protect whistleblowers?

In light of the Trojan Horse plot, each school should have in place a policy and procedure that aims to protect any member of staff, so that said member of staff can disclose any concerns they have about the behaviour of a colleague (or several) whom they believe may be acting illegally or neglecting their duties.

How can Kennedys help your school’s whistleblowing case?

We can assist with the following:

Contact our team for whistleblowing advice and support

If you are seeking advice on any of the above issues, contact us by phone or submit your details by email to contactus@kennedyslaw.com, or fill out the contact form opposite.

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