Investigators probe nearly 20 misconduct allegations against Portsmouth teachers
NEARLY 20 teachers have been investigated for alleged misconduct with several probes still ongoing.
The News asked both Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council for details of any inquiries linked to allegations of sexual misconduct or inappropriate behaviour with pupils from 2017 to July 2019.
Education chiefs in the city revealed three investigations are currently being carried out - but said they could not specify what the allegations are, meaning they may not be of a sexual nature.
No-one was dismissed following 15 probes, while there are three still ongoing as of last week.
But Hampshire County Council refused to answer under freedom of information laws, saying officers would have to check 1,000 safeguarding files to find out how many times they had investigated teachers.
Its reply said: ‘All educational settings are obliged to report any safeguarding concerns about staff to the Local Authority.
‘Whilst sexual misconduct or inappropriate behaviour will clearly form a safeguarding concern, the concerns we receive include a much wider range ofissues from neglect, wider inappropriate relationships (e.g. potential inappropriate use of social media), to not protecting a child from physical and emotional harm or dangerous situations.’
The News asked both authorities for details in the wake of paedophile teacher Sean Aldridge, 37, of Edmund Road, Southsea, being jailed for 12 years for abusing four girls aged 13-16 at Warblington School in Havant 2006-2012.
Amanda Martin, vice president of NEU and a Portsmouth teacher, said: ‘As a trade union we want to make sure that a process is followed, we’re not in the realms of covering anything up. We want to make sure that they’re treated fairly.’
Ms Martin, who said it was vital for all parties involved to have a fair process, added: ‘Some of these cases, and they can be malicious, can take up to 18 months or more to come to fruition.’
Teachers in Portsmouth are given annual safeguarding training. Misconduct probes can be linked to other allegations, not just sexual incidents or behaviour with pupils.
The city council said maintained schools are responsible for investigating allegations but they get advice from the local authority. Any allegation regarding the safety of a child is referred to the local authority designated officer.