“I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be.”
Douglas Adams (1952-2001)
“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” Buddhist Proverb
“It’s time we framed every question - every issue - not in terms of what’s in it for ‘me’, but what’s in it for all of us ? And when you ask that simple question - what’s in it for all of us ? - the direction not taken could not be more clear or compelling.” Senator John Kerry (1943-)
For years, unions, politicians and policy makers have been distracted by issues such as ‘suspension’, ‘anonymity’, ‘innocent until proven …’, ‘timescales’ and ‘natural justice’. The same old ‘key’ considerations continue to be debated. Every year, these same considerations are publicly presented, supported by the unions, as fresh and novel initiatives – and the same inhuman process continues.
It is impossible to expect a teacher to return to work whilst their very life hangs in the balance. The stress is unimaginable and it is relentless without escape. (The reason why government wants this issue addressed is not from concern for the teacher – it is one of finance – the costs involved are high – teacher’s salary plus a supply teacher; supported for maybe years !)
In a school, everyone will know, parents, children and other colleagues – it is an impossible goal. I question the import of anonymity – I remained quiet for two years and I now believe that maximum publicity would have been beneficial to me personally.
Innocent until proven …
What does this ideal mean ? It has been banded about since the beginning of time itself. Even though it is the cornerstone of the judicial system, it is not possible to realize. The fact that there’s even been an accusation when you’re innocent is sufficient contradiction; let alone when the police arrest you and you experience the utter humiliation of being treated as a criminal.
Existing government policies define the durations of the process stages; as do ACAS. They are reasonable and understandable – police investigation of about one month followed by maybe another month of investigation by the school / LEA. Why then did it take my school / LEA over 6 months ? In nearly every case, there is an enormous and unexplained delay that contravenes the guidelines. Why has there not been a public inquiry to discover the reasons for this failure rather than a complacent acceptance ?
There is no justice in a system that is so corrupt and incestuous. With the exception of the police, there is no impartiality. Existing established mechanisms come into play - LEA and governors supporting the head teacher without question; for to do otherwise would damage the credibility of the entire school management system.
(In my case, Lancashire County Council Human Resource managers lied at my appeal hearing. Over several years, I had been bullied by Andrew Kidd, head teacher and I had raised this problem with Vic Welch, HR Manager. These known prejudicial opinions and actions by Andrew Kidd should have denied his involvement - but instead, Lancashire County Council sanctioned and supported his actions.)