July 31: School Governance weekly news wrap

Australia

1 in 4 SA teachers and education staff still receiving a salary despite investigations

The Herald Sun reports that a quarter of teachers and Education Department staff who have been charged or are under investigation, are still drawing a salary. It also reports that the Teacher Registration Board of SA is facing an increase in cases of teachers who are no longer mentally or physically able to do their jobs. These findings follow a series of cases, including one where a male teacher was suspended for taking part in the exorcism of a 15 year old boy.

Same-sex couple in NSW overcome debutante ball decision

A same-sex couple will be allowed to attend a school’s debutante ball after community pressure forced the school to change it’s decision preventing one of the partners from attending. Originally, the 17 year old year 11 student, had hoped to bring her 21 year old partner to the event. However, the school denied that its decision was based on gender but instead said that the accepted practice was to bring a partner from year 11, or to avoid bringing a partner with a significant age difference. The year 11 student told the Sydney Morning Herald that the school was a good school that had helped her with problems in the past.

School Places launches in NSW

The School Places website, which allows independent schools to offer last-minute, discounted enrolments, has launched in NSW. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that already, 500 parents have registered for the site, which began operations in Victoria earlier this year. The founders state that the website will cater to parents who prefer to keep their enrolment options open, and will allow schools to boost their income.

Bullying under-reported by teachers and parents

The Australian Institute of Family Studies will soon publish research which has found that cases of children being bullied are under-reported by teachers and parents. The Illawarra Mercury reports that, of the proportion of 10 and 11 year olds who report being bullied, this occurrence was reported by only 1 in 5 teachers, and less than half parents were aware. The research will be presented at the Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference being held next week.

International

NZ casual teacher struck off register for sending photos of students

A casual school teacher in NZ has been de-registered after he sent photos of children to a friend who was attracted to young children. The photos came form a school event in 2011, where students were dressed in costume and were sent in via the teacher’s personal email without parental consent. According to 3 News, the teacher admitted the charge before it went to the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal, and will be censured, de-registered, and made to pay costs.

Over half of teaching staff resigns in protest at UK school

In the UK, 25 of 42 teaching staff have resigned at a school in protest of the appointment of a strict new head teacher. The Telegraph reports that the teacher once infamously banned the mention of Christmas and David Beckham by students at another school. It also reports that the teachers have stated that the students ‘were losing out on school trips, PE lessons, sports days and various other ‘key activities”. The local authority overseeing the school simply stated that the head teacher ‘was brought in at the request of the local authority to raise academic standards and the quality of teaching’.

US school principal charged with failing to report abuse

A school principal in the US is being prosecuted for allegedly failing to report child abuse, according to the Las Cruces News. The incident revolves around the alleged disclosure by two students, who stated to the principal that their sibling was being abused. Their sibling later died.  The law of the state requires mandatory reporting of certain disclosures by students. Those children are now in the custody of the state.

UK teacher banned for inappropriate behaviour

A teacher in the UK has been banned for inappropriate behaviour which included hugging students. BBC News states that a report into the teacher said that he ‘failed to maintain appropriate professional boundaries… cuddled and tickled pupils, allowed them to call him dad, let them sit on his lap, fed a pupil with a spoon and took four pupils out of school to buy teddy bears’. There is no suggestion that any of this behaviour was of a sexual nature, but the teacher in question has resigned.

UK school students threatened with prosecution over ‘sexting’

Also in the UK, the BBC News reports that young couples who are ‘sexting’ each other are being threatened with prosecution. Although, in the UK, the age of consent is 16, explicit pictures of those under 18 are prohibited. The local police have sent letters detailing concerns about this behaviour to all schools.

Published weekly wraps are to be downloaded as a word document and attached to this page.

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