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Teaching Regulation Agency(12 Posts)
I wonder if anyone can give me any idea of whether the TRA has any 'teeth' or like the LGO are a very limited referral route?
Just raising a complaint with them, with very strong evidence, but wonder if better going direct to the DfE?
I have never heard of them! I’m a teacher and a SENCo on SMT and your post is the first I have heard of this process.
Yes, they have teeth. They can recommend a prohibition order which bans the teacher from teaching in any school or similar in England. Whilst it is ultimately the Secretary or State who issues the prohibition order, they will only do so on a recommendation from the TRA. However, you can only refer a case to the TRA when you have exhausted all possible local procedures (e.g. the school's complaints procedure) and they will only get involved where the alleged misconduct is sufficiently serious to warrant a prohibition order. They can only deal with cases where the Secretary of State has legal powers. So they cannot, for example, investigate allegations of incompetence nor can they investigate teaching assistants or other support staff.
If you try going direct to the DfE you will be referred to the TRA.
Thanks prh. I have complained to the school and then the Local Authority and they have stopped responding to my correspondence despite them not having answered a specific query about documents that have been falsified (in relation to a permanent exclusion). I would have hoped that the DfE would have been interested in such a matter generally or if not then the TRA specifically about the teacher who has altered the documents and then provided verbal evidence to the Governors and others about the untrue incident shown on the documents. Would that be considered serious enough for the TRA to be involved do you think?
That sounds like you disagree with the teacher's version of an incident which led to a child (presumably yours) being permanently excluded. It isn't clear whether or not the governors accepted the teacher's version of the incident and kept the permanent exclusion in place. If they did, it suggests you don't have conclusive evidence that the teacher's version is incorrect which in turn means that any reference to the TRA would be doomed to failure.
Even if you can prove conclusively that the teacher's version of events is wrong, I doubt a reference to the TRA would succed. To get the teacher banned from teaching (which is the only sanction available to the TRA) you would have to show that the teacher had acted maliciously rather than simply being mistaken. You may think it was malicious but proving that to the TRA would be very difficult.
You clearly have some knowledge of this matter in detail.
One of my problems is that I have not been able to get someone to take my allegation and change it into an accepted fact.
The school and the Local Authority have not responded to the specific issue that I have mentioned and the matter has not yet been 'tested'. There are other issues with the teacher but this issue is a cornerstone concern.
The Governors and the LA are aware of the issue an have seen the evidence but have not engaged with the family to either explain it or refute it - I find this extremely odd and frustrating.
This may sound therefore like a wild goose chase about nothing. To explain generally I have two documents provided by the school and one of these has been redacted and the other has not (due to an error when providing evidence to the family following a subject access request). The redacted document has the names of those involved removed but has also had a statement removed by the only witness to the issue which states that what happened was an accident (we know this by comparison with the unredacted document). The teacher used this evidence to support their case and also provided verbal evidence at the various hearings which cited this case as a serious assault. This was the only example of this alleged poor behaviour that was produced to the Governors and the IRP and was accepted by them and referred to it in their decisions. The teacher knew this was an accident but amended the evidence to suit his actions.
I have the evidence to produce to the TRA. Would the TRA remit involve them in finalising the veracity of this allegation and, if not, who can do that if the school and LA are not responding? I cannot see that what I describe is anything but malicious but I would be interested to know if you believe that there would be another interpretation.
My own personal view (far from impartial I accept!) is that someone that acts in this way fails to meet the professional standards expected of a teacher and that having them in the position of making similar decisions is not in the best interests of other children that might be subject to their control.
Would they be interested if we have a signed letter with agreement from a court judge stating disability discrimination?
I think you need to be like Elsa and let it go.
Whatever has happened sounds quite flimsy in terms of the teachers intentions and actions. Pupils don't tend to get excluded for one incident alone.
"Taking your allegation and turning it into accepted fact" this is not how the world works. Just because you think something is true, doesn't mean it automatically is.
As Dermymc says, it would be unusual for a single incident to result in a permanent exclusion.
The staff who took the decision to permanently exclude would have seen the unredacted document. If you asked the governors to review the exclusion they would also have had access to the unredacted document. You appear to be suggesting that the views of a teacher who did not witness the incident were given greater weight than the views of someone who did witness it. That is unlikely, although I can't rule it out. But I have to wonder if the teacher witnessed the incident and their view of it was given greater weight than the other witness. That feels more likely, especially if the other witness was a pupil.
The school has looked at the evidence and has sided with the teacher. They don't have to explain that to you. They don't have to refute your evidence.
It doesn't sound like you have remotely enough to go to the TRA. A disagreement about whether an incident was an accident or a serious assault is not going to result in a teacher being subjected to a prohibition order.
If you really do have evidence that the school has acted unreasonably in excluding the child you can appeal the decision to the LA (or academy trust if the school is an academy). If you have already done that you can refer the matter to the LGO (or the ESFA if the school is an academy) but they will only step in if the case has not been handled correctly.
My advice would be to let it go. Your child (I presume) has been permanently excluded. I get that you think it is unjust. I get that you want to take revenge on the teacher you regard as responsible. But it is unlikely you will get anywhere by going down that route.
Thanks everyone for your comments, most appreciated.
Just an update to the previous posting mainly as I felt that the view was that I should not be pursuing this matter. To be fair there was limited information provided so I can accept that responses could only be based on what was known.
However, the First Tier Tribunal decided that my son had been unlawfully discriminated against in this exclusion and the school have been required to remove the exclusion from his school record and to apologise.
There has been a new Chair of Governors and some of those there previously have also left. The new Chair took it upon herself to personally visit our home and give our son the letter of apology and also to verbally apologise for what took place.
She also agreed to follow up our specific concerns with the Head Teacher and interviewed him over his actions. He confirmed that he made a number of mistakes but that he did not intend this (presumably therefore not maliciously). He therefore remains in post and I have left it there other than to ask the local authority involved to consider how well they handled all of this bearing in mind the outcome. Not sure if the TRA might still be an option if they cant be sure that this teacher was just merely incompetent rather than malicious.
One comment in the thread was about my desire to get revenge on the Head Teacher - I am not sure that I can honestly say whether I did or not as my feelings were quite high but it would have been built into the overall need to see justice done in a situation where it was not. More than that, I learned a great deal in this process and have recently met with my MP to ask him to take forward some process issues around the way exclusions are handled and he has promised to table these for me. Wont help my lad but hopefully will stop some other kids life being ruined.
Thanks everyone for their input.
Can I say first of all, well done to the new Chair of Governors for acting positively over this.It could so easily have been swept under the carpet as it all happened before my time.
It is interesting that the first tier tribunal took action and does to a great extent confirm that there is a bit of a gap in the disciplinary system.
One possible course of action now is launch a formal complaint to the school about the head teacher involved deliberately removing what was a crucial witness statement. The school could take the view that as it is tied up with a permanent exclusion that it cannot be considered as a complaint to the school. Many schools have a clause in their complaint procedure saying that nothing to do with a permanent exclusion can be raised as a complaint.This is to stop people reintroducing a PE into debate after the Independent Review Panel has found in the school's favour.
The wording of your comment is interesting saying that the Chair of Governors has interviewed the Head teacher and they have admitted their mistakes. I think you can read into that the headteacher has received some kind of warning into their conduct.
You have said you are taking it no further and I think you are right to make this decision. The question though is how many other such mistakes can be accepted before there is a question about the competence of the staff member involved and whether the Chair of Governors is prepared to take more action.