Teaching bans: Gathering the numbers

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Months ago, I sent a Freedom of Information request to the Department for Education asking for details of all teachers banned in the past five years including where they taught, what they taught, in which town and county they taught and what they had been banned for.

The DfE turned me down, saying all the information I was seeking was publicly available.

That was true. In a way.

They do publish each finding. Each finding is usually a 10-page document and the information I was seeking is usually in and amongst those pages, somewhere.

So I created a spreadsheet, columnised the details I wanted and set to work, starting with the first case in April 2013. A few weeks later, the ordeal ended and I had my database of banned teachers.

And I was pleased that I did sort it myself because I found a number of geographical and other errors in the DfE’s own reports which would have made their own spreadsheet potentially unreliable.

The piece I did for the BBC got a respectable 370,000 views and has been widely followed up by other outlets, such as the Daily Mail.

A couple of aspects in doing this research interested me. First was the chasm between the genders in terms of reasons for the teaching bans. Women were most likely to be banned for fraud (particularly with test results), theft and intoxication at work. Men were most likely to be banned for sexually-motivated inappropriate conduct with pupils. Women were also far more likely to avoid a ban (as were head teachers). Second was the tiny number of cases – about 500 in five years – that result in such hearings. I continue to wonder either whether cases are seriously underreported or whether the teaching profession is the victim of a huge number of malicious allegations.

Anyway, nobody seems to have done this work before. Now it is done, I hope the data might be of use to others to employ or build upon. For those interested, here’s my spreadsheet. I have removed teacher names because the cases might be subject to appeal etc.

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