18:33 Thursday 16 January 2014

Sexual abuse allegations shock at county schools

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

POLICE investigated 41 allegations of sexual abuse at schools in Derbyshire during the last three years, it has been revealed.

The figures were released by Derbyshire County Council on the same day it emerged that nearly 1,000 teachers had been accused of having a sexual relationship with pupils over the last five years in the UK.

The authority stressed that its figures did not necessarily fall under the same category, but represented all allegations of sexual abuse at the county’s schools which had been brought to its attention by school employees.

Allegations ranged from inappropriate comments to criminal offences.

Following a Freedom of Information request by the BBC to 200 local authorities, it was revealed that 959 teachers in the UK had been suspended, disciplined or dismissed as a result of an allegation they had a sexual relationship with a student since 2009.

Staffordshire County Council was among authorities that did not present figures following the request, while Derbyshire County Council said it was unable to provide those exact figures due to the way its complaints system is handled.

A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: “We have recorded 41 allegations of sexual abuse by people employed in Derbyshire schools in the last three years.

“We discuss every allegation with the police and take immediate action to remove safeguarding risks to children whenever needed. We also support schools in carrying out disciplinary investigations.”

Of the 959 cases nationally, 254 led to a police charge

Union NASUWT insited the majority of allegations made against teachers were unfounded.

General secretary Chris Keates said: “Whilst every allegation must be investigated and action taken where there is found to be a case to answer, it is entirely wrong and irresponsible to present statistics, as commentators do all too often, that imply that abuse by school staff is widespread.

“There are over 440,000 teachers working in schools who are dedicated to protecting the health and welfare of children and young people.”

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