January 25, 2014
Teachers convicted of drug offences or theft are to be allowed back into the classroom.
A criminal record for smoking cannabis, using amphetamines or shoplifting need not bar them from continuing their jobs, official guidance states.
Certain gambling, alcohol and driving offences are also not enough to see a teacher removed from their post, the National College for Teaching and Leadership said.
Last night campaigners said routinely allowing such offenders to continue to teach would set a bad example to their pupils.
‘The job of a teacher is not just to impart knowledge to learners, it is to give them moral guidance,’ said David Green, from the Civitas think-tank.
‘You can’t give moral leadership if you yourself don’t set an example.
‘If you’ve been found guilty of the possession of drugs, it implies you at least use them.’
The official guidance from the NCTL has been sanctioned by the Department for Education. It covers when disciplinary panels should issue prohibition orders, which bar teachers whose conduct has fallen below expected standards from working in any classroom.
The guidance tightens the rules in some areas – making it clear that teachers guilty of sexual misconduct and/or any crime involving indecent images of children should be kicked out, as should those convicted of supplying drugs.
But for other drug offences leading to a conviction or caution, teachers should not be prohibited from teaching unless class-A substances – such as heroin, cocaine and ecstasy – are involved, it says.
Offences involving class-B and C drugs, including cannabis and speed, would not mean an automatic prohibition order.
Last night, a Department for Education source said: ‘Obviously, teachers should be strongly disciplined if they have committed theft or used drugs. We are absolutely clear that teachers can be banned for life.