End of “guilt by association” for teachers?

July 12, 2018

Some of our members whose spouse or partner has been wrongfully convicted of abuse have found themselves unemployable. This is a particular problem in the teaching profession; so called “disqualification by association” has caused many to lose their jobs according to Unlock.

From August 31st 2018 schools will no longer be able to ask staff about cautions or convictions of anyone living or working in their household (see draft guidance).

However, there appears to be an expectation that staff will declare matters that may affect their ability to keep children safe:

‘In support of this schools should take an opportunity, for example through performance management or other staff discussions, to create the right culture and environment so that staff feel comfortable, where it is appropriate, to discuss matters outside of work, which may have implications for the safeguarding of children in the workplace.’

Furthermore, there will still be the problem of “guilt by Google”. A school recruiting staff simply has to search the Internet to discover that a candidate lives with someone who has been cautioned or convicted.

It is difficult to see how the guidance will help those teachers unfortunate enough to find themselves in this position, unless it is made unlawful to discriminate in this way.


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