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‘One in five teachers victims of false claims by students'

FALSE CLAIMS: One in five teaches have fallen victim to allegations made by students

ONE IN five schoolteachers have fallen victim to students’ false allegations, according to a new survey.

A further seven per cent said they have been forced to challenge false claims made by a pupil’s parent or family member, a poll by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) revealed.

The teaching union said the false allegations are ruining careers and was one of the main reasons people were considering leaving the profession.

David Guiterman, ATL's branch secretary in Cornwall, said: "Even if the allegation is shown to be false it leaves a lasting scar.”

The survey questioned 685 members working in schools and colleges in England, Wales and Northern Ireland found that 69.5 per cent of alleged incident was supposed to have taken place while working with a class.

One state secondary school teacher, with 22 years experience, told the union that she now feels vulnerable as pupils "twist things that are said".

Another said poor parental discipline and an inability to discipline children without a comeback was to blame.

She said: "Very good teachers will be driven out when they are most needed".

ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said there needed to be a greater balance to ensure children are protected and school staff "do not suffer unnecessarily" when false allegations are made against them.

One teacher said her husband was left a “broken man” when he was falsely accused by a child he taught.

She explained: "The false accusation of one child, who was in an abusive home situation, wrecked our family life. My husband died of a sudden heart attack in his 50s."

Responding to the survey, a Department for Education spokesperson said: “We recognise the extreme damage which can be caused to teachers who have false allegations made against them, which is why we have made clear to schools and colleges that staff should be supported throughout, and are able to return to focusing their energies on teaching as swiftly as possible.”

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