Saturday, 25 July 2009

Parents’ Support

“It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either.”

Mark Twain (1835-1910)

I have taken the decision to allow comments to be openly shared that are relevant to my case. This decision hasn’t been easy but, since my recent press coverage, I feel that it is important that people are given the opportunity to discuss their opinion.

I am indebted to two parents who have contacted me with information pertinent to the events of 26 September 2007 and, from what they say, there are other parents who would like to provide additional details. I would be grateful if these other parents might come forward.

For those wishing to provide support, my e-mail address is :

Courtesy Daily Mail
20 July 2009
Courtesy Lancashire Evening Post
24 July 2009

Courtesy Chorley Guardian
22 July 2009

Andrew Kidd, Duke Street Primary headteacher said (Chorley Guardian): “There was a disciplinary hearing in March 2008 at which a member of staff was dismissed for assaulting a child, which was witnessed by another member of staff.
A subsequent appeal hearing decided that while the original finding of misconduct was correct, the decision to dismiss should be reduced to final written warning and at that point the member of staff was invited to return to work in July 2008.
However, the staff member did not return to work and was dismissed by the governors in May 2009 on grounds of non-attendance.”

I was sacked, reinstated and sacked again because I was too ill to teach !

How can your employer get away with making you ill and then sacking you because you are ill ?

to invite : to politely request; to attract; to encourage, to provoke, to promote, to welcome

In the paper, Andrew Kidd said “... the member of staff was invited to return to work ...”

I ponder his definition of ‘to invite’ as the school did not extend any invitation to return. In fact, there was no contact what so ever - maybe a telepathic or subliminal welcome back ? Or maybe he sent it in another text message that I missed this time ?

The other point that I reiterate is that the teaching assistant witness took some 20 hours to report the story and then only after much discussion with other teaching staff. You might have expected that, after witnessing, what was claimed to have been a violent and vicious assault, that she would have gone to the aid of the girl; certainly report it immediately. But she did nothing ... the reason for this was because nothing happened !

nothing : not any thing; no thing; an absence of anything, including empty space, brightness, darkness, matter, or a vacuum; something trifling, something of no consequence

Two witnesses, including the teaching assistant, confirmed that at the time of the allegation the girl showed no reaction nor did any of the other children in the vicinity. A “violent and vicious assault” that results in no reaction - how can that be possible ?

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Never, Ever, Quit

Courtesy BBC News

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

I Made This Happen !

I set out to change legislative policies so that no other teacher would have to experience and endure the miserable existence that I have suffered at the hands of Lancashire County Council and the management of Duke Street Primary School.

I have covered so much ground in two years, spoken with so many people, and fought for justice.

Today I have succeeded, I have redeemed a social condition – I catalyzed the meeting of the House of Commons, Select Committee for Children, Schools and Families on 17 June 2009.

I did it, no union, no support agency, just me ! Now the unions take the prestige as they issue great and bold statements to convince their members of their unwavering determination to protect them.

The NASUWT proudly announce that they have been campaigning for 18 years for reform. But it was me, a reception teacher who won the day.

Britain is strangled by social injustice, we live with it everyday and it is suffocating us and our society. Injustice must be fought openly and with honour … and loudly. My mistake all along was to accept it, to be humble, quiet and suffer in silence with the forlorn hope that justice would prevail.

So fight for all you are worth, shout, cry and scream ... but ... do not ever quit ... for success must be your goal !

Friday, 17 July 2009

Where Is The “Fence” ?

Said one, to his pleas, ‘It’s marvel to me
That you’d give so much greater attention
To repairing results than to curing the cause;
You had much better aim at prevention.
For the mischief, of course, should be stopped at its source;
Come, neighbours and friends, let us rally.
It is far better sense to rely on a fence
Than an ambulance down in the valley.
extract from The Ambulance In The Valley - Joseph Malins 1895

Over the past few days, journalists have asked for comment on the recommendations within the Parliamentary Report –

Allegations Against School Staff HC695

The report supports the view that ‘commonsense’ should be a key consideration. It struggles with other issues to do with preserving anonymity. It certainly contains many new initiatives and when implemented, the system will be better than the current situation.

It firmly supports the view that teachers and other school staff should be seen as innocent until proven guilty but what does that mean in practice ? It is much the same as saying “Suspension is a neutral act”; I can assure you that it is not !

An oversight in the report is an expectation that all associated bodies will ‘play-fair’. In my case, they did not and I entered a Kafkaesque world full of horror !

I am reminded of the film “Enemy of the State”, 1998 with Will Smith - well that’s what I have experienced - “It’s not paranoia if they’re really after you” - and they were - Lancashire County Council and school. From the moment of my suspension they ignored all the rules - they are able to do as they wish, secure in the knowledge that there’s nowhere to go to complain !

What is needed is an independently appointed ombudsman who makes certain that rules are obeyed in good faith.

The fundamental problem in the report, is that it does not address protecting the teacher and indeed the child - it discusses policies / procedures that only can be invoked after the event.

The fact is that, no matter what new procedures are introduced, an allegation levied at a teacher will destroy them, their life and their career. Anonymity, is the least concern - a press announcement and an absent teacher does not require the deductive reasoning of Sherlock Holmes to reach a conclusion of “Who dunnit !”.

With reference to “The Ambulance In The Valley”, the focus continues to be the provision of an improved ambulance service to deal with the injured. But where is the “fence” ?

Until there is UK wide social reform, the only protection available to a teacher has to be CCTV surveillance. There has been heated debate in the past on this topic but what else is there ? I would go further and suggest that teachers should be equipped with body worn cameras. If I could rewind two years then I would not hesitate to wear one ... it can save your life !

Would I teach again ? Yes, if I could feel safe. It was my life, I always wanted to teach and I expected to work until my retirement - I loved my job and I loved children - for they are precious and they are our future !

Thursday, 16 July 2009

A Catalogue Of Disaster

“The Comedy of Errors” is one of William Shakespeare’s earliest plays, believed to have been written between 1592 and 1594. It is his shortest and one of his most farcical ...

My story is not one of comedy but it is certainly farcical !

The following blog entry lists, in bullet form, key elements of my story. To fully appreciate the context, refer to the previous entries ...

I decided not to release all the information that I have collated over the last two years - there is simply too much ... over 100 Mbytes ! If you do have a serious interest and requirement then please e-mail me and I will provide you with a download link.

If it is an enquiry by the media then please read my blog prior to requesting an interview. I am still trying to recover my health and retelling / reliving my account is a considerable ordeal.

My situation today :
  • The head teacher at Duke Street Primary School, confirmed that a member of his staff was dismissed for misconduct, reinstated — and then dismissed again for “non-attendance”. But he said “the original finding of misconduct was correct”.
  • Expenditure of over £25,000 in legal fees.

  • Health damaged - supported by Sertraline and Diazepam for depression and anxiety / panic attacks.

  • Unemployable - permanent CRB blemish.

  • No pension for another 3 years.

  • £350,000 future earning potential stolen.

Key dates : (Refer : Time Bandits)

  • 26 Sep 2007  
  • 0  Alleged assault

  • 27 Sep 2007
  • 1Suspended

  • 31 Oct 2007
  • 35Arrested

  • 19 Nov 2007
  • 54Police drop case

  • 20 Nov 2007
  • 55School start investigation

  • 13 Dec 2007
  • 78Invited for interview by head teacher

  • 26 Mar 2008
  • 182Disciplinary hearing - sacked

  • 13 Apr 2008
  • 200Polygraph examination

  • 15 Jul 2008
  • 293Appeal hearing - reinstated but alleged assault sustained

  • 22 Apr 2009
  • 574Absence hearing - sacked again !
    (Your employer makes you ill - offers no support and then sacks you for being ill !)

    I make the following claims :
    • I am innocent of the allegation that I slapped a child on the hand.

    • I am the first teacher in the United Kingdom to have undergone a polygraph examination in an attempt to prove their innocence.

    • My actions did catalyze a meeting of the HoC, Select Committee for Children, Schools and Families.

    • I will never stop fighting for justice - for myself and other teachers.
    I make the following assertion :
    • Children must be protected - an allegation of assault on a child must be treated with the utmost care – it can not be ignored !

      But, once an allegation has been made, it will change the life of a teacher forever - no matter what the outcome and no matter how good policies / procedures might become in the future !

      The school and LEA have an obligation to demonstrate that they are active in their intent to protect children and to be seen to do otherwise reflects badly on the school.

      In my case, I believe that Lancashire County Council embarked on a strategically planned damage limitation exercise - sacking me was the most politically correct expedient !
      (Refer : CSI Springfield)

    • Lancashire County Council reinstated me at my appeal hearing but upheld the finding that I had assaulted the child. This was another strategic decision that blocked the option to progress the case through an employment tribunal.

      The assault had been described to have been so vicious and violent that the child continued to exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic abuse, including bed-wetting and fear when entering the school.

      The teaching assistant, who witnessed the alleged assault, explained that she had been so shocked that she was unable to help the child at the time. It took her 20 hours before she felt able to report the incident and only then after discussing what had taken place with the nursery nurse.

      There was agreement by witnesses that the child showed no initial signs of distress – she did not cry nor did any other children react in any way.

      If there had been such a violent assault, it makes no sense to have reinstated my position at school - gross misconduct is a sackable offence !

      Lancashire County Council had no choice – they knew that the case would not withstand the scrutiny of an employment tribunal. They also knew that it would be unlikely that I could return due to my health – they made no offer to support and assist my return to work.

    Summary of disaster :
    • At suspension, denied constitutional right to be accompanied.

    • Lancashire County Council never appointed a designated contact officer.

    • The school never agreed a designated link person.

    • Counselling support never provided.

    • Progress / review information never provided.

    • All contact with colleagues denied.

    • All social contact with the school denied.

    • Lancashire County Council sanctioned an investigation by the head teacher knowing that there was a history of significant resentment.

    • The head teacher rejected evidence that did not support his belief.

    • The head teacher’s investigative report was biased and prejudged. It failed to comply with Lancashire County Council’s investigative rules or those defined by ACAS.

    • Witness statements were not signed or dated. The content of statements were changed - explained to be administrative errors.
      (My statement had signatures and dates removed !)

    • Lancashire County Council denied that they were aware of the resentment by the head teacher.

    • Lancashire County Council intentionally excluded a governor at the appeal hearing.

    • The hearing committees were not thorough in their consideration of presented evidence.

    • There were close relationships between governors and witnesses that compromised any chance of receiving a fair and impartial hearing.
      (The key witness and another were governors. The disciplinary committee comprised a local florist and one of his employees !)
    Quotes of disaster :
    • “I knew what I believed and proved it !”
      Head Teacher

    • “Told to find out what the witnesses said and write down what I believed.”
      Head Teacher

    • “She had convinced herself of her own reality, that is how she passed the polygraph examination.”
      Head Teacher

    • “We felt that to use the statement would be a distraction.”
      Head Teacher

    • “The statement only served to ‘cloud the issue’.”
      Head Teacher

    • “I didn’t feel that character references were relevant.”
      Head Teacher

    • “You’re nothing but a media showman !” (Reference Don Cargill polygraph examiner)
      HR Manager

    • “Perhaps the difficulty you are having in answering this is you seriously disliked Mrs Watts at the time ?” (Head teacher chose not to answer)
    • “You know the position that we’re in at work. I can’t go behind his back. If he gets wind of it, I’m going to be in the shit really.”
      Teacher - SMT

    • “I do not feel that it is in the best interests of all of the parties involved for this to be re-examined.”
      Helen Denton
      Executive Director for Children and Young People
    Quotes of support :
    • “I have passed your letter to the Department for Children, Schools and Families so that they are aware of your views and to respond to the detailed points raised in your letter.”
      Prime Minister
      Gordon Brown, MP

    • “You are experiencing the effects of burgeoning bureaucracy and the consequent loss of personal responsibility and commonsense. I am sorry that Parliamentary rules prevent my involvement”.
      Leader of the Conservative Party
      David Cameron, MP

    • “Thank you for getting in touch. I very much sympathise with the terrible position you find yourself in. My heart goes out to you. And your position underlines my determination to provide more protection for teachers who’re falsely accused in the future.”
      Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families
      Michael Gove, MP

    • “I find it so hard to understand how in our society that you now have to present your own case and cross examine witness’s ! That in itself appears to go back to the dark ages when victims of crime were allowed to be cross examined by offenders !”
      Arresting Police DC
    Related quotes :
    • “Mrs Watts continues to deny smacking E.... T......”
      Head Teacher

    • “I believe Mrs Watts is guilty of gross misconduct for smacking E.... T..... and my concern is compounded by her refusal to admit the offence.”
      Head Teacher

    • “I refute the allegation – I did not smack E.... T......”
      Jane Watts

    • “I have to admit that my life and career have been ruthlessly taken from me by the callous and malicious actions of colleagues.”
      Jane Watts

    • “I would prefer to be treated as a criminal in a Crown Court than sit before my head teacher and his interpretation of justice !”
      Jane Watts

    Catalogue of documents / media :
    • Adverse Report Mrs Jane Watts - by head teacher

    • Why ask if head teacher had said this at suspension ?
      Lancashire County Council, HR Manager

    • Police Arrest Interview - 31 October 2007
      Jane Watts

    • Fear At School - Only asked for character reference !
      Teacher - SMT

    Wednesday, 15 July 2009

    Lies, Damned Lies ...

    “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” is part of a phrase attributed to the 19th Century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli and later popularised in the United States by Mark Twain.


    I write on behalf of the Governing Body of .... ...... Primary School to inform you of the outcome of the meeting of the Disciplinary and Dismissal Committee held on 26th March 2008.

    The Committee considered very carefully all of the written and verbal information provided and then adjourned to deliberate in private on 27th March 2008, where they reached the following decision:


    We have considered carefully both accounts of the suspension meeting and whilst we believe that Mr K... did make you aware that the allegations related to E.... T....., we do accept that you should have been informed of your right to be represented at the outset of the meeting.

    The head teacher denied me my constitutional right to be accompanied. He then claimed conversation that never took place. He did so to discredit my honesty. The HR manager, Lancashire County Council, knew that I had not been informed as I had a conversation with him about the torture of not knowing any details of the allegation. I recorded this telephone conversation at 10.20am on 17 Oct 2007 :

    We were concerned by your statement that no one with the exception of the police, had ever asked you to relate in your own words the events of 26th September 2007. We are satisfied that the disciplinary investigation meeting held on 13th December was convened in order to allow you to do so. We note that you took external advice and chose not to use this opportunity, preferring to submit a written statement.

    “The investigation meeting is being convened in order for you to respond to questions by the head teacher.”
    HR Manager – Lancashire County Council

    I did not seek external advice; I followed advice provided by the same HR Manager. His e-mail, dated, 05 December 2007 14:31 :

    “A statement will be made in order for your response to be recorded. This is your statement and you will have the opportunity to amend this should you wish to do so. Normally this would be sent to you following the investigation meeting and you would then be free to amend it and once you are happy with the content you will be requested to sign it. Should you wish to submit your own statement then I am sure the Headteacher would be agreeable to this.”

    We also note that your statement at that time made no reference to the possibility that you had slapped the table rather than E.....

    My statement says :

    “As I have already stated in Section 1, E.... had been distracted that afternoon and had not been paying attention. The task that she had was relatively easy and in order to regain her attention, I tapped the table in front of her. There were pencils, papers, books, etc. on the table. E.... was not upset at the time and finished her work.”

    Also, my police interview recording discusses tapping / slapping the table :


    The Committee hope that you feel you had a fair hearing and would like to assure you that they thoroughly considered all of the information presented prior to and during the hearing, in coming to their decision.

    By their own admission, they were not thorough, failing to notice that my statement did contain reference to tapping the table.

    As for feeling that I had a ‘fair’ hearing ... words fail me !

    I contend that the HR department of Lancashire County Council suppressed information that would have supported my case. The reason why they should do so is clear – to find me innocent would have resulted in significant problems for both the school and themselves.

    There had been a succession of policy / procedural breaches throughout my case by Lancashire County Council and serious omissions. The school had failed in their obligation to ensure that I had been fairly treated and at least three members of staff had not been honest.

    The determination of ‘truth’ was never a genuine objective – they were forced by circumstance to expedite a solution that minimized potential damage and liability – and that was to sack me and hope that I would remain silent.

    Later, Lancashire County Council attempted to ‘gag’ me on two occasions :

    Over Christmas 2008, I had discussed my case with a few parents who disclosed this information on a blog. They received an e-mail from Lancashire County Council :

    05 January 2009 :

    “Please note that I have been instructed by the Headteacher of .... ...... Primary School …”

    “A further issue that I have been instructed to consider is whether the member of staff has acted contrary to the terms of her employment at the school, and contrary to the principles of confidentiality, in apparently giving an interview to you with (presumably) the knowledge that it would be published in this way.”

    D.... C.....
    Senior Solicitor, Lancashire County Council.
    Legal Adviser to Schools.

    And shortly afterwards, when they attempted to bully me into accepting a settlement contract that offered me a paultry sum if I agreed to not discussing my case with anyone - including my own family !!!

    During my appeal hearing, the head teacher posed me a question - why should people have lied ?

    I have pondered this question over months and a full answer continues to elude me.

    Colleagues who I had considered to be close friends have done to my detriment and, even though I wrote a blog “Betrayal Of The Bystanders”, I still have no answer.

    Part of the reason why people lied, originated from the prevalent atmosphere of fear and intimidation at school. For my appeal, I wanted to include character references from those who had known me and worked with me over the years. This was the response that I received from a colleague, a member of the school’s SMT, who I had worked with for 20 years :

    Perhaps the head teacher and HR manager might be better qualified and experienced and could provide an answer ?

    The chair of governors who had resigned in January 2008, remained as a parent governor and was present at the first session of my appeal hearing.

    He is a man of sound judgement, experience and moral integrity - and he had demonstrated his strong determination that I should receive a fair hearing. He was not present at the second session of my appeal hearing. This was explained to be due to an unfortunate clash of appointments. Later, I received an e-mail of apology from this governor :

    “I was on a course yesterday and came home quite late last night. I hope the hearing went OK yesterday. I wanted to be involved all the way through to the decision but was let down by the LCC and LEA, date arrangment for the hearning. Below is my email conversation with authorities regarding the available dates for hearing and they still went ahead with the date which I was not available on.”

    The conclusion is that his non-attendance was intentional. He had been excluded to prevent his participation.

    Nothing was ever going to be fair - after all, they had control of the rule book ...

    Tuesday, 14 July 2009


    “The wisdom of hindsight, so useful to historians and indeed to authors of memoirs, is sadly denied to practicing politicians.”

    Margaret Thatcher (1925- )

    As I mentioned in my previous blog, I provided my statement to the head teacher at a meeting on 13 Dec 2007.

    I had believed that I was to be interviewed following the completion of the investigative process. The police had dismissed my case on 19 Nov 2007. The following day, 20 Nov 2007, I was contacted by Lancashire County Council’s HR manager who informed me that the school were to invoke disciplinary action; the first stage of which would be an investigation by the head teacher.

    It was natural to believe that, by 13 Dec 2007, this investigative stage would have been completed. This was a mistaken presumption on my part. In reality, the head teacher had done nothing for some three weeks.

    When I provided my statement, in good faith, I had provided him with a focus and target. The head teacher then embarked on an ‘investigation’ that set out to demolish my statement.

    The main argument in my defence was that I had been sitting at a child’s circular table, 55 cm in height and 120 cm in diameter, at the time of the allegation; the little girl had been sitting on the opposite side. I had been seated on a child’s green chair, 30 cm in height, with my legs extended under the table. This is far from comfortable but it is necessary to work at the same level as the children.

    The fact is that I could not reach across the table. I know from experience that I have to use rulers, pencils, etc., to allow me to reach a child’s workbook from the other side.

    One evening, the head teacher and the two witnesses were observed by a colleague, entering my classroom where they played ‘slapsy‑wapsy’ across the table. I believe that it became evident to them that it is extremely difficult to reach whilst sitting on a child’s chair.

    No matter, the evidence can be changed and the two witnesses claimed that I had been sitting on a stool, 60 cm high. Now, apart from the fact that I never use a stool, I would not be able to reach the table surface to help the children. Again, this problem was overcome by introducing a portable whiteboard.

    So, my defence was thrown into question by two witnesses who now concurred in their statements that I was sitting on a stool using a portable whiteboard.

    The key witness, a teaching assistant, had been using the same lesson plan as me, a Teddy Worksheet, that did not necessitate additional teaching support – certainly not a portable whiteboard. She had been sitting on a child’s chair. Why on earth would I then have to be seated on a stool ?

    When I received the head teacher’s investigative report in January 2008, I could not believe that the nursery nurse, whom I had known for some 20 years, would lie ... but she did !

    I discussed the head teacher’s report with the police. None of the officers could recollect mention of a stool or whiteboard during their investigation. Attempts were made to recover the archived evidence / statements but the Data Protection Act prevented this and I only succeeded in obtaining my own interview recording.

    In hindsight, I should not have provided the head teacher a detailed account or explanation. In the absence of my statement, he might have carried out a fairer and more impartial investigation ! But ... he could not have done for other reasons ...

    From the appeal hearing transcripts :

    Barrister: Your role as investigating officer – how did you understand your role ?
    Head Teacher :I was only involved in the investigation from 20th November 2007 because prior to that it was a Social Services S47 investigation. Once I had contacted personnel and the child protection team to clarify what I should do.
    Barrister:It wasn’t a question about when you started but what was your role.
    Head Teacher: My role was to ascertain what had happened based on the information I obtained on 26th – 27th September.
    Barrister:So it was a fact finding exercise to present info to disciplinary committee ?
    Head Teacher:My advice from personnel was to speak to witnesses and present a report based on what I found and what I believed had happened on 26th September. Hence when I did speak to people I believed that Mrs Watts had smacked E... T..... on the hand and my report reflected that – before submitting my report – I did talk to personnel / with VW about what was my role in the investigation process.
    I have never been involved in anything like this before – people who know me would know that I would take advice from child protection / personnel.
    Barrister:For the record you are saying personnel advised you to say what you believed to have happened ?
    Head Teacher: I am basing my beliefs on what I found out.
    Barrister:You are saying personnel advised you to come up with what you believed had happened ?
    Head Teacher:Mr W is here. That is what I was advised to do.
    Barrister:Did they tell you anything else. Did they tell you to be fair and objective in the way you investigate ?
    Head Teacher:Told to find out what the witnesses said and write down what I believed.
    Barrister:You mentioned lots of occasions you asked advice did anyone tell you to carry it out in an objective sense ?
    Head Teacher:I know this and do not need to be told this.
    Barrister:As you gave evidence you felt no resentment for Mrs W at the date of this incident ?
    Head Teacher:Correct.
    Barrister:Your words no resentment ? If you did feel any resentment you couldn’t have carried out a fair investigation could you ?
    Head Teacher:I didn’t have any resentment.
    Barrister:If you had a fall out etc., you couldn’t carry out a fair investigation could you ?
    Head Teacher:My responsibility as head teacher is to carry out fair investigation.
    Barrister:You told us you carried out the investigation in a fair and objective fashion and had no resentment. If you had resentment you wouldn’t have been able to carry out a fair investigation.
    Head Teacher:It is a hypothetical question – no resentment.
    Barrister:Would you agree that if you had issues with Mrs W you shouldn’t have been the person to carry out the investigation ?
    Head Teacher:It isn’t the case – no resentment.
    Barrister :Perhaps the difficulty you are having in answering this is you seriously disliked Mrs Watts at the time ?

    Asked by barrister to note the question was not answered.

    Barrister :Let me jog your memory to December 2004 event when Mrs W gave a speech.
    Head Teacher:I think you are referring to December 2003.
    (Refer : Anonymous Text)

    I had experienced ‘episodes’ with my head teacher over years - the ‘Anonymous Text’ was just one of many.

    During the summer term of 2007, I became unfit for work and was signed off ill due to stress through work. I was seen by Lancashire County Council’s occupational health therapist, M....... B..... on several occasions. I told her in some detail about the relationship problems that existed between myself and the head teacher. She noted my comments and said that she would mention my concerns to the HR department.

    At my final session with M....... B....., she said that due to the time that I had been off from school that I would be ‘phased’ back into my fulltime role at school. She said that she would discuss this with the head teacher and HR to organize a ‘back-to-work’ meeting.

    Towards the end of August 2007, whilst on holiday abroad, I received a text message from the head teacher telling me that a date had been arranged for a meeting with him and VW, a Lancashire County Council HR manager.

    I was petrified by the very thought of sitting in such a meeting and decided to ring M....... B..... for her advice. I expressed concern that there might be recriminations from the head teacher. She was more than aware of these problems from my previous meeting with her. When I told her that a ‘two-against-one’ meeting would be intimidating especially from my previous experiences, she realized that I had not been informed of my right to be accompanied by a friend. She agreed to raise the matter directly with VW.

    In the end, I decided it would be simpler to speak directly with VW, he was after all a skilled professional HR manager and felt sure that he would have some words of wisdom. I described the history and stressed the fact that I did not want any reference made to these workplace problems during the meeting as I did not want to open old wounds but wanted my phased return to be a fresh start and to please respect the confidentiality of our discussion.

    He said that he could not comment as he was an advisor to schools and not teachers. He added that if I was having problems with the head teacher then I should discuss them with my union.

    (He did not respect the confidentiality of our conversation as he brought this matter up at the meeting !)

    My barrister made it clear at my hearing that if there were ‘bad feelings’ that might be prejudicial to an investigation then another investigator should be appointed.

    The head teacher denied that there was such a situation. Clearly there was and he should not have been permitted to execute such an undertaking.

    Lancashire County Council knew that there was an ongoing problem - both the occupational health therapist and the HR manager were aware of the relationship issue. But at my hearing, when asked by my barrister, the HR manager denied any knowledge of the problem. (This dialogue was omitted from the transcripts.)

    I conclude that Lancashire County Council failed to act reasonably by allowing the head teacher to complete the investigation knowing that there was mutual resentment between us.

    It is of grave concern that a Lancashire County Council HR manager who knew about the issue should deny all knowledge at a hearing.

    Monday, 13 July 2009

    The Box Is Open

    Bilbo:A box without hinges, key, or lid,
    Yet golden treasure inside is hid.

    Answer:An egg

    The Hobbit - J.R.R.Tolkien (1892-1973)

    The allegation of assault was dismissed by the police on 19 Nov 2007. They said that cases, like this one, were nothing but a waste of valuable police resource and I understand that they issued a complaint to this effect.

    Regrettably, the police investigation is focused on establishing sufficient evidence to meet the submission requirements of the Crown Prosecution Service and it not their function, in the absence of evidence, to determine or judge the likelihood that a criminal act had taken place. However, the police did consider that I had been victimized and that their investigation had supported this opinion.

    So, on 20 Nov 2007, the school embarked on their Disciplinary process – which started with an investigative phase, undertaken by my head teacher, supported and advised by Lancashire County Council’s HR department. (They did have the option not to progress with any further action.)

    I was invited to an ‘interview’ with my head teacher on 13 Dec 2007 where I was expected to answer his questions. My responses would be recorded and at the end of the session, I would sign the so prepared document which would become my statement.

    There was no way that I could face being subjected to such interrogation; at that time I was very ill through stress and my mental state was one of utter confusion, in part through my illness, and part through side effects of my medication, Sertraline and Diazepam.

    On the day of my suspension, 27 Sep 2007, I had written everything that I could recollect (bearing in mind that I did not know the details of the allegation until my arrest on 31 Oct 2007). This record of events was my statement and I never changed any details after that date. It was lodged with my solicitor and was accepted by the police.

    Therefore, rather than subject myself to an intimidating and threatening interrogation by my head teacher, I submitted my statement and agreed that they could ask me anything else at a later date if there were any other points that required clarification. (This statement submission was at the advice of a Lancashire County Council HR manager.) I never heard from anyone until a letter arrived in mid-March 2008 to inform me of the date and venue of my Disciplinary Hearing.

    The investigative process and guidelines feature in some detail in my blog entry ‘CSI Miami’ and a somewhat cynical but accurate description of what actually took place features in my entry ‘CSI Springfield’.

    Lancashire County Council’s guidelines state (Refer : Annex 1) :

    “An investigation is a fact-finding exercise with the aim of obtaining, as far as possible, a fair and balanced picture through a written record. The aim is not to prove or disprove an allegation.”

    ACAS guidelines are much more detailed and stringent but the underlying requirements are those of impartiality, fairness and that no conclusion should be made by the report.

    This was the submission made by my head teacher following his investigative process (after 2 months) :

    Adverse Report Mrs Jane Watts - by head teacher

    His report concludes :

    1.5.2 : Mrs Watts continues to deny smacking E.... T......
    1.5.3 : I believe Mrs Watts is guilty of gross misconduct for smacking E.... T..... and my concern is compounded by her refusal to admit the offence.

    My statement is at the back of this report. Originally, when submitted, it had been signed, dated and witnessed but no one could explain why the signatures and dates had been removed. I suppose that it was that my statement was then like all the others for they were not signed or dated either.

    The head teacher deliberately omitted witness statements that did not support his findings. He explained his rationale for doing so :

    “We felt that to use the statement would be a distraction.”
    “The statement only served to ‘cloud the issue’.”

    The terrifying fact was that this was accepted by the hearing committee without hesitation or question !

    He also maximized on the opportunity to discredit my honesty by adding conversation that never took place at my suspension. He denied me my constitutional right to be accompanied. At that time, he told me that he could not provide details of the allegation and said that I would be informed at a later date - the later date being when I was arrested !

    Yet, in his report, he says :

    1.4.5 : I explained to Mrs Watts that I was suspending her because there had been an allegation that she had smacked E.... T..... on the hand. Mrs Watts said she had been cross with E.... during the day but had not smacked her. Mrs Watts asked if I believed her. I explained that the suspension was made without prejudice and that it would continue whilst an investigation took place and that it was likely that there would be a strategy meeting called by social services.

    I went through weeks of hell - I did not know what was happening, no one contacted me, and worst of all I did not know any detail of the allegation. The only information that I had came from articles in local newspapers; the featured information had been provided by Lancashire County Council.

    If the head teacher had informed me in such detail, why then would this conversation between myself and a Lancashire County Council HR Manager have taken place :

    I will refer to other details of this conversation in a later blog - suffice to say, this was the one and only time that Lancashire County Council made any attempt to ‘keep me informed’.

    Immediately following the release of the head teacher’s report, the chair of governors resigned. He had expressed his concerns about the poor quality and obvious bias of his report to the head teacher.

    He also had insisted that there should be changes made to the members of the Disciplinary Committee as they had limited training and no experience; but to no avail.

    So, at my Disciplinary Hearing, I was judged and sacked by a florist and his delivery ‘boy’; aided and abetted by Lancashire County Council representatives.

    The chair of the Disciplinary Committee and the now chair of governors is a florist whose shop routinely supplies the school with all it floral decorations, bouquets, etc.

    My next blog will focus on why my head teacher should not have been permitted to undertake the investigative process. I had suffered from several years of bullying and our working relationship and his behaviour was such that he could never have been objective. Lancashire County Council knew that this problem existed but denied it at my appeal hearing ! ... and more ...

    Sunday, 12 July 2009

    The Lid Fell Off ...

    “Next morning a crowd gathered on the common, hypnotized by the unscrewing of the cylinder. Two feet of shining screw projected when suddenly the lid fell off ! Two luminous disc-like eyes appeared above the rim. A huge rounded bulk, larger than a bear, rose up slowly glistening like wet leather. Its lipless mouth quivered and slavered and snake like tentacles writhed as the body heaved and pulsated. A few younger men crept closer to the pit. A tall funnel rose then an invisible ray of heat leaped from man to man and there was a bright glare as each was instantly turned into fire.”H. G. Wells (1866 – 1946)

    I outlined my intent in “Pandora’s Box”. For two long miserable years, I have remained silent - my story untold. I have written a book to help others; it makes few references to the details of my case.

    Today, I start with my story. There is much to relate and I remain hesitant of the format and presentation. There is no doubt that this entry will be subject to change as my story unfolds. The only certainty is that I have opened Pandora’s Box ...

    The lid has fallen off !

    I start with the audio recording of my police arrest interview of 31 October 2007. All my life, I have been an honest, caring and loving person and to be arrested was the most debasing, sordid and terrifying experience imaginable. Throughout my arrest, I felt physically sick, scared and so alone.

    My mind raced and struggled to comprehend my nightmare as the details of the allegation unfolded. The pressures and stresses that you experience during a police interview are such that it is not possible to respond with anything other than the truth.

    I remain scarred by the memory of this episode and there is no way that I can consider listening to the interview recording that I have now released - even today, the thought of it makes me ill.

    Refer : Arresting Times

    As my story unfolds, it will become clear that truth had never been on the agenda. I was guilty from the instant of my suspension. From that moment onwards, I had been judged and sentenced by the school with the full support and sanction of Lancashire County Council. Their focus was clear all along – sack me and be damned !

    The second time that I was subject to intense interview by a professional trained investigator was during my polygraph examination. Unlike my arrest interview, it was my decision to undergo such an examination but nevertheless it was an ordeal. My decision was based on sound judgement. Whilst polygraph examinations are not yet acceptable as evidence in a criminal court of law, they are admissible in some civil cases. Polygraph examinations are accepted by government and are now an integral component of the Offender Management Act 2007.

    Even though I passed my examination, by one of the UK’s most reputable bodies, it was Lancashire County Council that destroyed all credibility of, not the polygraph test, but the character of the examiner, Don Cargill of NADAC.

    The following video illustrates Don Cargill and his work in connection with the Michael Shields case from the BBC television series Inside‑Out :

    Courtesy BBC Manchester - Inside Out

    During my appeal hearing, Don Cargill availed himself to be questioned by conference telephone.

    The only people who spoke with Don Cargill (DC) were the two Lancashire County Council HR representatives – one supporting the governors (HR1) and the other (HR2) supporting the head teacher.

    The following dialogue was taken from my appeal hearing transcripts :

    HR1 started the questioning session :
    HR1 : Can you confirm that you carried out the test with JW ?
    DC : Yes.
    HR1 : On what date ?
    DC : About 3 months ago.
    HR1 : How much was she charged ?
    DC : That is confidential.
    HR1 : Is it true that you practiced the questions ?
    DC : No. I sat down and listened to her version of events. I don’t care if she lies or not. I am a professional. I attached monitors to JW body. Sometimes we have to ask further questions. The main relevant questions are to do with did she or did she not touch the child. I have to take verbal testimony of people taking the test. JW slapped the table and her ring caught the table. In no way at all did she touch that child in my opinion. These tests are over 98% accurate.
    HR1 : The assessment isn’t purely based on an actual test – there are pre and post questions ?
    DC : Yes.
    HR1: What’s the scope to manipulate ?
    DC : (Gave a range of examples e.g. drawing pins in shoes.) We cannot alter our own nervous system unless we are lying and this would show up on the chart. It is a scientific control. We also use subtle interrogation skills.
    HR1 : Would prescription medication affect the accuracy ?
    DC : Only if completely drunk or taken marijuana or cough medicine or cocaine or recently started beta blockers. So as long as no heavy cold or a cough.
    HR1 : Can you give a 100% assurance that JW was not taking any prescription drugs that may affect the outcome ?
    DC : Only if she was on heroin or cocaine replacement drugs.
    HR1 : Can you confirm that the same person who took test is the same person in the hearing ?
    DC : I don’t know because I can’t see them !

    HR2 then asked questions :
    HR2 : Just to confirm - you are the owner of largest privately owned Polygraph Clinic ?
    DC : Yes.
    HR2 : You make your living through them so it is in your interests to say they are 98% accurate.
    DC : Not in my interests at all. All polygraph tests are deemed to be accurate not just mine. That does not mean I get 2% wrong.
    HR2 : Is it true that you are available for TV / Radio ?
    DC : Yes.
    HR2 : So you work in the entertainment business ?
    DC : I take my profession very seriously.
    HR2 : On some information it describes you as being the only glamorous couple in the industry. This is strange if you are a serious business.
    DC : They are accurate.

    No other member of the governing body or anyone else asked questions.

    The above transcripts were taken by HR1. They are reasonably accurate but some comments were omitted. At the conclusion of HR2s questioning, he concluded with a statement to Don Cargill : “You’re nothing more than a media showman !”

    The intent of the questions posed and statements made during the above session is evident - to discredit Don Cargill and therefore to cast doubt on the validity of my test. They could not ask searching questions that would educate those present for to do so would have been to allow doubt of my guilt to gain substance.

    In his summary, the head teacher said “She had convinced herself of her own reality and that is how she passed the polygraph examination.” (This conclusion was not reached through dialogue with Don Cargill who later commented to me that such an observation would not be possible.)

    Later, I received my “Outcome of Hearing Letter” from Lancashire County Council. It contained the following section on their opinion of my polygraph test :

    The Committee considered carefully what weight should be placed on the polygraph report you submitted. They took into account a number of factors including the following :
    • The report dated 13th April 2008 was conducted by a qualified person who runs a commercial enterprise including clients in the entertainment business. He was paid by you to conduct the test.
      This statement and inference is outrageous.

    • The report itself is an expression of opinion that there was “no deception indicated”. This opinion is based on the test, examination and interviews including ‘numerous rehearsals of the questions to be asked of her before the actual test itself’.
      This statement indicates that they did not understand the methodology of polygraph examinations.

    • The test provides an indicator of ‘no deception’ rather than categorical proof that the subject of the test is telling the truth.
      This statement indicates that they did not understand the methodology of polygraph examinations. There are only two outcomes from a polygraph examination : NO DECEPTION INDICATED meaning the examinee answered the relevant questions truthfully, DECEPTION INDICATED meaning the examinee did not tell the truth to the relevant test questions or sometimes the opinion is inconclusive when the examiner is unable to determine truth or deception from the examinee’s polygraph charts due to abnormal and / or inconsistent physiological reactions.

    • Mr Cargill was unable to confirm your identify as the person who took the test.
      I had submitted my report to Lancashire County Council at the end of April 2008 - they had almost two months to assure themselves of its validity ! They also had the opportunity to address this point with Don Cargill during the telephone conversation at my appeal hearing.
    Therefore, the Committee concluded the polygraph test does not negate or override witness testimony whether that witness testimony supports your account of events or contradicts it.

    I know that I have not been fairly treated by this process - far from it ! There was never a moment when my school or Lancashire County Council demonstrated fair play or reasonable behaviour. From the time of my suspension, they broke the rules and left me deserted and alone - no support, no contact and no compassion.

    Nowhere was there any doubt that I was guilty. The head teacher was given free reign by Lancashire County Council to prove me guilty - almost at any cost !

    At my appeal hearing, the head teacher said “I was told to find out what the witnesses said and write down what I believed. My advice from personnel was to speak to witnesses and present a report based on what I found and what I believed had happened on 26th September. Hence when I did speak to people I believed that ‘she’ had smacked ‘the girl’ on the hand and my report reflected that.”

    On three occasions during my appeal hearing, the head teacher said :

    “I knew what I believed and proved it !”

    When asked why statements were omitted from his report, he said “We felt that to use the statement would be a distraction.” adding “The statement only served to ‘cloud the issue’.”

    It was of little wonder that at my appeal hearing, the head teacher was supported not only by a Lancashire County Council HR manager, he also required the presence of his NAHT union representive. The fact was that if my appeal succeeded then the ensuing aftermath would impact many of those involved.

    This was a battleground where right and wrong had no place - they had to find me guilty at any price !

    Lancashire County Council knew that there had been significant failings and they took a strategic decision to reinstate me, knowing that I was too ill to return to school (for which I was sacked again in May 2009) and that reinstatement closed the door to progressing my case through an employment tribunal.

    Realize that, I was found, by the Disciplinary and Appeal Committees, to have violently assaulted a child, to such an extent that the little girl continues to suffer post-traumatic shock. The assault was so violent that it took the witness, a special needs assistant, 20 hours to recover sufficiently before she felt able to report it. It was so violent that the little girl showed no initial reaction at the moment of the assault and that no other child in the vicinity reacted !

    How could they justify their decision to reinstate me ? This was gross misconduct and at the severest level !

    Recently, I conveyed my feelings and concerns to Lancashire County Council and received this response :

    “I do not feel that it is in the best interests of all of the parties involved for this to be re-examined.”
    Helen Denton, Executive Director for Children and Young People

    I question whose best interests and which parties is she concerned about ? It certainly is not mine ! This is my life that they have stolen !

    I conclude with the facts that Chair of Governors said that, in November 2007, he tried to stop the case progressing to that of a Disciplinary Hearing. He could see no benefit to the school in pursuing such action and the reports from the CPA and the police had concluded that the incident should be closed. He was overruled by the head teacher.

    In January 2008, the Chair of Governors resigned coincident with the publication of the head teacher’s report. He had issues about the lack of impartiality of the report and raised concerns about the lack of experience and training of the Disciplinary Committee.

    Immediately following my appeal hearing, another governor, a parent and teaching assistant at the school, was so appalled by the outcome of the hearing that she not only resigned, she removed her children from the school !

    Later, I will look at the ‘impartiality’ of the investigative process undertaken by my head teacher in my next blog.

    I make the offer to undergo another polygraph examination to prove, once again, my innocence with the condition that the head teacher, HR manager and key witness also take the test and that the results be made public.

    Saturday, 11 July 2009

    Pandora’s Box

    After Prometheus’ theft of the secret of fire, Zeus ordered Hephaestus to create the woman Pandora as part of the punishment for mankind. Pandora was given many seductive gifts from Aphrodite, Hermes, Hera, Charites, and Horae. For fear of additional reprisals, Prometheus warned his brother Epimetheus not to accept any gifts from Zeus, but Epimetheus did not listen, and married Pandora. Pandora had been given a large box and instruction by Zeus to keep it closed, but she had also been given the gift of curiosity, and ultimately opened it. When she opened it, all of the evils, ills, diseases, and burdensome labour that mankind had not known previously, escaped from the box, but it is said, that at the very bottom of her box, there lay hope.

    Since I started my blog on 01 February 2008, it has now received over 75,000 visits and several hundred e-mails. (too many for me to acknowledge, let alone to reply to !) Never before did I appreciate the scale of the problem of false allegations. It is of worldwide pandemic proportion, affecting teachers, carers, hospital workers ... the list goes on. Many have asked for details about my case but my focus has remained on fighting for all teachers and to change legislation, policies and practices, so that no one in the future will suffer the experience of such a living nightmare without end.

    It was only the other day, that I discovered the fact that Pandora’s Box not only contained evil but, at the bottom, there lay hope.

    My Pandora’s Box is now 4 lever-arch files, over 100 Mbytes of computer files (video / audio recordings, pictures and other assorted documents) and drawers full of newspapers and correspondence.

    The thought now occurs to me that, like Pandora, I will find hope only through opening my box and unleashing the evils that lie within.

    In my possession, I have recordings of conversations by my head teacher, HR managers, other teachers and even my own arrest interview plus transcripts, letters and other documents. None of this evidence could have been used in my defence during my hearing stages. It would not only have been deemed to have been inadmissible, such covert behaviour would have been damaging to any chance of winning my appeal. (Today, it no longer matters.)

    I want the world to know that I am innocent. Over the coming weeks, it is my intent to open my Pandora's Box and to return the contents of such evil wickedness to those whose actions have resulted in so much misery. And just maybe, I will find hope once more in my life !

    After Pandora opened her box, she did not suffer any consequences of her action and later had a daughter named Pyrrha who married Deucalion the son of Prometheus.

    Just after they were married Zeus sent the Great Deluge which wiped out the whole of mankind. Only Deucalion and Pyrrha survived, floating to the safety of Mount Parnassus in a chest.

    Friday, 10 July 2009

    The Ambulance In The Valley

    The Ambulance in the Valley

    ‘Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,
    Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant;
    But over its terrible edge there had slipped
    A duke, and full many a peasant.
    The people said something would have to be done,
    But their projects did not at all tally.
    Some said ‘Put a fence ‘round the edge of the cliff’,
    Some, ‘An ambulance down in the valley.’

    The lament of the crowd was profound and was loud,
    As their tears overflowed with their pity;
    But the cry for the ambulance carried the day
    As it spread through the neighbouring city.
    A collection was made, to accumulate aid
    And the dwellers in highway and alley
    Gave pounds or pence – not to furnish a fence –
    But an ambulance down in the valley.

    ‘For the cliff is all right if you’re careful’, they said;
    ‘And if folks ever slip and are dropping,
    It isn’t the slipping that hurts them so much
    As the shock down below – when they’re stopping.’
    So for years (we have heard), as these mishaps occurred
    Quick forth would the rescuers sally,
    To pick up the victims who fell from the cliff,
    With the ambulance down in the valley.

    Said one, to his pleas, ‘It’s marvel to me
    That you’d give so much greater attention
    To repairing results than to curing the cause;
    You had much better aim at prevention.
    For the mischief, of course, should be stopped at its source;
    Come, neighbours and friends, let us rally.
    It is far better sense to rely on a fence
    Than an ambulance down in the valley.’

    ‘He is wrong in his head’, the majority said;
    ‘He would end all our earnest endeavour.
    He’s a man who would shirk this responsible work,
    But we will support it forever.
    Aren’t we picking up all, just as fast as they fall,
    And giving them care liberally ?
    A superfluous fence is of no consequence,
    If the ambulance works in the valley.’

    The story looks queer as we’ve written it here,
    But things oft occur that are stranger
    More humane, we assert, than to succour the hurt
    Is the plan of removing the danger.
    The best possible course is to safeguard the source
    By attending to things rationally.
    Yes, build up the fence and let us dispense
    With the ambulance down in the valley.

    Joseph Malins 1895

    “The Ambulance In The Valley” is one of those wonderful works of prose that conveys such a strong message. We are all guilty of becoming fixated by that ‘ambulance’ – it is our nature … instinct is to address the symptoms of a problem and forget to determine and analyze the root cause.

    Quickly, we are swept away with the tide of enthusiasm as more become involved and want to participate. Years later, someone might have the vision and conviction to look at what is happening – to see that initial fallacious error of judgement and to take action. They must be strong to sweep away all the ‘good work’ that has gone before and start afresh.

    What ‘fence’ can be erected for a teacher to shield them from falling over the precipice ? Whatever future policies exist, they can never be more than a ‘safety net’ to catch them as they fall.

    The only protection against false allegations are those provided by safe working practices and sadly the technology of video / audio surveillance.

    I did a lot of work considering how I would keep safe at school, if I returned – the ‘two deep leadership rule’ of having another adult with you at all times is a good safe practice – but that didn’t work in my case. I happened to mention this problem to the police. They suggested that the school should have surveillance cameras throughout the school ! They added that a better alternative would be to use the same personal body cameras that the police use to protect themselves from false allegations. They use digitally encrypted recording so that no one can use the video for any other purpose. In their experience, CCTV systems can never guarantee 100% coverage and fate is such that an incident may not be in view of a camera. Being understandably cynical, they added that camera / recording failures frequently coincided with incidents !

    The scale of the problem and its consequence can be life changing and life threatening. The capital outlay to protect yourself is less than £1,000. If I could turn back the clock two years then I would have used personal surveillance technology. There can be no other solution - you need to keep safe and keep wise.

    Abuse allegations are now a part of life - it can happen to you - so be prepared and don’t accept the risk.

    The devices are commonly available and are similar to ‘bluetooth’ accessories. Suggested distributors of such systems are DogCam or RoboCam.

    I found a few companies who were prepared to lend me such equipment for evaluation and it is worth making enquiries.

    Today, there was the tragic news that a pupil had been hospitalized following a violent assault by his science teacher at a school in Mansfield, “Science teacher arrested over ‘assault’ on schoolboy”.

    The Telegraph, 10 Jul 2009

    And another older article : “Teacher pleads for CCTV in classrooms”.

    Coventry Telegraph, 22 Jun 2007

    Two dreadful and appalling stories of misery and sadness, potentially diametrically opposed in actual events and intent. The journalists have presented the known ‘facts’ and ‘evidence’ behind the incidents. We are then able to consider and judge the guilt of the unfortunate teachers from the comfort our homes.

    But what is the truth ? Does it matter ? We all know that Peter Harvey must have lost control in a moment of frustration and that John Whitehead has been the subject of a travesty of justice. The papers allow us to make that judgement.

    The fact is that we do not know, none of us were there nor the reporters or police. No one will ever know what really happened, the degree of provocation, such things are not important - society simply wants to assign blame and punishment.

    Cameras would have recorded these events without prejudice – much akin to a ‘black box’ on an aircraft. And like that ‘black box’, we can learn from such events – knowing the facts allows corrective action to be made that might minimize such risks in the future.

    I feel the deepest sorrow when reading such stories – a teacher is guilty from the very start and it is an impossible uphill journey to escape.

    In my case, I know that classroom surveillance cameras would have saved me, my career and my life.

    Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT union, said : “We do not support the use of cameras in this way and see no professional security or educational benefits to such systems.” ... from a recent article, entitled : “CCTV installed to monitor classrooms”.

    The Telegraph, 04 Mar 2009

    Teachers, children, parents need a ‘fence’ erecting to protect everyone. Consider Chris Keates’ opinion – is she not one of the outspoken villagers fighting for ‘The Ambulance In The Valley’ ?

    Worse than that, she requires the statistical data on the number of injuries suffered over 18 years before considering investing in a box of band aids !

    Thursday, 2 July 2009

    Google NASUWT

    “If you trust Google more than your doctor then maybe it’s time to switch doctors.”

    The following page is the result of using +nasuwt false allegations as the search text on Google :

    1994 Jun 26, 1994 - They are a direct result of unions' concerns about the increase in false allegations made against teachers. ... Chris Keates, an executive member of NASUWT, says: 'We do not seek to protect child abusers but we do need to protect teachers who have their lives shattered by pupils.' ...
    From Fear and loathing in the classroom: Allegations - Related web pages ...
    1999 Apr 10, 1999 - The NASUWT said it knew of three members who had committed suicide, and one who had attempted suicide, because of the stress caused by false allegations and press coverage. One teacher died prematurely as a result of an impending court case. General secretary Nigel de Gruchy said it ...
    From 'Expel pupils' for false abuse claims - Related web pages
    2001 Apr 9, 2001 - More than 2000 teachers have faced police interrogation as a result of unsubstantiated or false allegations of abuse by pupils in the past decade ... The NASUWT report shows the number of allegations has shot up from 42 in 1991 to 159 last year. The NUT has dealt with 160 cases where a ...
    From Teachers face rocketing false abuse claims - Related web pages ...
    2003 Apr 4, 2003 - Many in the profession have said worries about false allegations of abuse could be behind the decline. According to the teaching union, the NASUWT (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers) there have been 1557 police investigations against members. ...
    From Male teacher numbers hit low - Related web pages
    2004 Apr 15, 2004 - Teachers have demanded a change in the law to allow them to sue pupils for compensation if they make false allegations of physical or sexual ... Only 69 out of 1782 allegations of abuse made by children against NASUWT members over the past 10 years had actually led to convictions, ...
    From Teachers want right to sue over false claims - Related web pages ...
    2005 Nov 21, 2005 - "Teachers and others who work with children are extremely vulnerable to false allegations. NASUWT has campaigned for years for this to be recognised and for an investigative process which takes this into account to be introduced. "The guidance represents a significant step forward ...
    From Investigating abuse by teachers - Related web pages ...
    2006 Apr 21, 2006 - Mr Gee, from Huddersfield, was not a member of her union, the NASUWT. But Ms Keates said its campaign on false allegations had resulted in the government amending the procedures to speed up the investigation of allegations. "False allegations can completely devastate the lives and ...
    From Teacher posthumously acquitted - Related web pages
    2007 Apr 10, 2007 - NASUWT Northern Ireland president Fred Brown said false allegations against teachers were becoming much more common and more sophisticated. "The internet is used to make allegations and these allegations are totally anonymous," Mr Brown said. He said those pupils found to have made ...
    From Teacher tells of false claim ordeal - Related web pages
    2008 Mar 19, 2008 - Pupils who make malicious false allegations about teachers should be placed on a school register to protect other staff, a teachers' union ... The NASUWT union, for example, says it has had 2316 allegations brought against its members in recent years, of which 2231 have been concluded. ...
    From Call for 'crying wolf' pupil list - Related web pages
    2009 Mar 3, 2009 - Hundreds of teachers are facing false allegations of abusing children every year, union leaders said. More than 800 claims are being made against staff, according to the NASUWT union. Many of the allegations follow attempts by teachers to discipline pupils who misbehave in class, ...
    From Teachers' careers 'blighted' by false allegations - Related web pages ...

    The above information page is brief, providing only a minimal synopsis of the tales of horror and injustice. Already, it is evident that there were 3 deaths and 1 attempted suicide in 1999 … there it is, the starkest of realities … false allegations do kill ! Is it murder ? In my book it is; to deliberately subject any human being to stress with no regard for them or their feelings, knowing that they will be broken and destroyed by the process; suicide, in these circumstances, by definition, must be murder.

    That is what Lancashire County Council tried to do to me - they nearly succeeded on several occasions !

    Legal Analysis of Murder
    William Blackstone (citing Edward Coke), in his Commentaries on the Laws of England set out the common law definition of murder as :

    “when a person, of sound memory and discretion, unlawfully killeth any reasonable creature in being and under the king’s peace, with malice aforethought, either express or implied”

    The first few elements are relatively straightforward; however, the concept of “malice aforethought” is a complex one that does not necessarily mean premeditation. The following states of mind are recognized as constituting the various forms of “malice aforethought” :
    1. Intent to kill,
    2. Intent to inflict grievous bodily harm short of death,
    3. Reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to human life, or
    4. Intent to commit a dangerous felony.
    Under state of mind (iii), the killing must result from defendant’s conduct involving a reckless indifference to human life and a conscious disregard of an unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily injury.

    I intentionally included NASUWT in the search phrase. There they are, the largest teachers’ union, doing nothing other than to expound their pride in maintaining statistical data. Teachers are not statistics, they are trained, experienced and valuable human beings. From 1994 to 2009, there is Chris Keates ‘looking out’ for her members’ interests – and achieving nothing !

    Everyone seems to ‘tinker’ with peripheral concerns; should the teacher’s anonymity be protected, seems to be of paramount importance and, at all costs, any publicity should be minimized – it’s in everyone’s best interest. In truth, anonymity was the least of my concerns – if someone is suspended from school then it’s fairly public knowledge anyway. I am also of the view that, in many cases, maximum publicity at the start, is actually to the teacher’s advantage - whilst the LEA might not be permitted to use commonsense, thankfully much of British society can still recognize moral injustice.

    A much more radical approach needs to be made to establish a fairer, quicker and more supportive process. Why should it be the school that picks up the chalice after the Police and CPA have been involved ? It could be better handled by a specialist and trained department of the DCSF. I also discovered that all the reports by the Police and CPA that are compiled and collated are not used by subsequent school investigations – why is that ?

    So I make this plea to the policy makers and to the bureaucrats :

    “Involve us, the people who have suffered over the years, to help make certain that there is a system in place that works !”