Children abused at school

A report has revealed that the number of allegations of physical and sexual child abuse in schools has risen.

In the past three academic years (2008-2011) there has been a 19% increase and in that time dismissals have increased by 66% and suspensions by 41%.

The report is entitled "Safe from Harm".

It was undertaken by a legal research company looking at the effectiveness of legislation that was introduced to protect children in the wake of the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

Freedom of Information requests were sent to all 152 LEAs in England and the key findings include:

  • In the past three schools years a total of 9,048 allegations of physical and sexual child abuse have been made against staff with and without Qualified Teaching Status (QTS).
  • This has resulted in 1,355 suspensions and 866 dismissals of staff with and without QTS.
  • only 10% of these allegations resulted in dismissal and of those suspended, 64% were dismissed.

In Yorkshire and the Humber 714 allegations were made against staff with and without QTS between 2008 and 2011. 172 staff were suspended during that time with 63 members of staff being dismissed.

The information collated from the report supports my concern that there are still too many people gaining access to children, for their own iniquitous behaviour. I am equally concerned that some LEAs were unable to provide us with this data as they do not record these statistics.

– Malcolm Underhill, IBB Solicitors, who represents victims of child abuse

This Report lays out important issues in a balanced manner and we hope it will be used to promote public debate - when 10% of allegations which are reported result in dismissals we have to be concerned. What happens in the other 90% of cases? The likelihood is reprimands, retraining, employment warnings, poor practice, as well as unsubstantiated claims. This is not scaremongering - parents are entitled to know the answers where it's their children who are involved. We have to go beyond the era when questions were not asked and children had no voice.

– Jan Cosgrove, National Secretary of Fair Play for Children,