Let me add my thanks to Mrs Williams and Mrs de Mucha de Vila who have been covering maths classes since September, also as mentioned by the headmaster on the front page of the Newsletter.
And also let me note the complete absence of any information as to whose classes they have been covering or the reason for the need for that cover.
The cover of course had to be arranged because of the departure of the teacher suspended last term over allegations of abuse. I think that departure and the reasons for it might conceivably have justified a small mention in the newsletter, unless the headmaster is again industriously engaged in sweeping dirt under the carpet.
There may be some cause for embarrassment, as the departed teacher was a very long-serving member of staff. A friend has sent me a school photo dating from 1989 in which he appears. But the embarrassment is not going to go away by keeping quiet about it.
Let me say that I don't know all the relevant facts, or even enough of the facts to feel justified in naming the teacher concerned at this time. But there are some interesting questions that need to be asked.
- Did he resign, or was he sacked?
- Was a Notification promptly sent to the Independent Safeguarding Authority on his departure, stating all the relevant details of the case?
- Was a compromise agreement used to ease his departure?
There could have been a letter to parents saying that allegations had been made about the teacher concerned, that in accordance with school policy Social Services had been informed immediately, and the teacher had been suspended pending an investigation which had subsequently found enough evidence of misconduct to justify his departure.
This could have been proudly displayed as a sign that for all the past problems they have had, the school is now being vigilant about abuse and the rapid reporting of this incident indicates that the new policy is working well. There is no shame in there having been an incident of abuse - no school can guarantee that it will forever remain 100% free of such cases. The key point is to ensure that such cases are detected quickly, reported immediately and that action is taken so that the harm to children is kept to a minimum.
For all I know, that might have happened here. Any school would have every justification in claiming such an incident as a success and a demonstration of the effectiveness of its procedures. So it seems very odd that the school hasn't taken the opportunity to announce it as such.
There's obviously more to learn about this. I'll keep you posted if and when I discover it.