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LADO investigation against me/advice please

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Jimbot80, Sep 17, 2018.

  1. Jimbot80

    Jimbot80 New commenter

    Hey guys.

    I’ve recently had a safeguarding accusation against me and and now in the process of a LADO investigation. Not really sure what’s going to happen.

    A little background:

    I have been working as a TA/LSA since 2006 over three different schools. In that time I have never had any safeguarding concerns with my work.

    Summer 2018 I was offered an art and IT tutoring role at a small behavioural school. I was to start as agency and would have been brought on temp to perm.

    First day of the new academic year, all staff were informed that the school will be closing down by October half term. (Due to bad ofsted report) moral is instantly low, school has barely any resources left but I decide to stick it out as I wanted the experience.

    Almost two weeks later I am called to the office to meet with the acting head and deputy. They inform me that one of the students I had been teaching had been accessing inappropriate material online (pornography) during my lessons. I am shown a google history timeline and asked was I aware. Looking at the time line I could see that the student had a second window/tab open and was accessing without my knowledge.

    There was a second incident where three students had access the film “saw” without my knowledge. Again I hadn’t noticed this, I was already trying to tutor an extremely challenging student and was left unsupported with two more students who require 2:1 staff on my own all morning.

    I was instantly dismissed and told and ingestion would have to happen.

    A call from my agency told me that a LADO investigation is now in process and I can’t work in another school until it is resolved.

    Now I am extremely worried how this will effect my dbs and any future I have of working with children with behavioural difficulties which has been my passion now for ten years.

    As mentioned I was with an agency and while they have been supportive so far, I am worried that I don’t have a union to back me up.

    Others have noted that there was a degree of negligence on the schools side as they did not in fact have any kind of net guard in place on the school IT system and also leaving an unqualified staff member with inadequate support the students statemented needs.

    I am very worried now so an advice would be appreciated.
  2. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    The school may have been negligent, but if you're not in a Union I'm not sure how this can be resolved positively. You say you're unqualified for the role - but the school will argue you agreed to the post.

    You need legal help. Go to your CAB and see what help is available.
  3. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    This would be quite simple to navigate with a union, but without one, very much harder.

    Write down a full statement of everything while still fresh, so you have it available

    What checks did you make on the computers children were using in the same room as you?

    anything can slip through the net, at any time, but did you have some sort of "net" in place, were you looking? how often did you check their screens? how often did you check their histories? if not at all, why not?

    have these answers ready, because I am sure you will be asked

    In what way were you untrained? Had you raised any concerns about being untrained?

    I think you need legal advice, see if CAB can help, see if your household insurance has a legal clause. If not, you my need to think about hiring a solicitor, but that can be £200 an hour - I know, I just paid one! and that was the cheapest I found....

    Get your agency to explain to you exactly what is happening.

    good luck

    Its not a big problem for a union rep to deal with, but I wouldn't now where to start on my own
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    sorry, I just reread my post and it sounded quite negative. I don't think its necesserily that bad. The difference is without a union rep, you are going into meetings on your own, answering questions on your own, not always clear about what is happening.

    A union rep would prepare you, accompany you, inform you, represent you, generally be a guide, but in fact the local authority are likely to be fair, it won't be much fun, and you will not have much union leverage to chivy them along to a conclusion, but I don't see any reason why they shouldn't understand your point of view.

    My questions were not accusations by the way, just preparing you for what you are likely to be asked.

    If you can say you checked their search history every 20 minutes, but this slipped through, that puts you in a reasonable light.

    If you didn't, you will need to be able to justify why you didn't.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Their IT doesn't block dodgy sites??? Wow.

    How were you supposed to prevent and/or monitor web usage? What training had you had? What was school policy on students' access to the net?

    You were doing your job with absolutely no fall-back position. No wonder the school is closing!

    I would ask to to be put in touch with the LADO at once as you wish to cooperate fully and clear your name by giving a full account. It will be greatly to the detriment of the school. So be it. They deserve to close.

    And you should be exonerated. Give kids unfettered online access? Impossible task to prevent them misbehaving.
  6. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Good advice above.

    You need professional advice.

    The school have also behaved completely wrongly by dismissing you first and holding an investigation afterwards!! But as you hadn't been there long, and anyway were employed by the agency, there's not much you can do about that. And the school's gone bust and is closing.

    I would concentrate on the LADO investigation and making sure this exonerates you. Unfortunately you are not in a union, but is there someone else with experience in this area who can accompany you to your interview with the LADO? I assume you will be asked to meet the LADO - I don't see how he can investigate without interviewing you.

    Call me cynical, but the school is closing so both the head and deputy will be looking for new jobs and the last thing they want is any question marks over the safeguarding arrangements they have been responsible for. So they are going to try and dump 100% of the blame on you, wring their hands in helplessness, and try and avoid any blame falling on the school management. That's why it's important that someone who understands about safeguarding accompanies you to LADO. The LADO will have no reason to want to exonerate the head/deputy and will be fair to you.

    A "degree of negligence" is excessively generous to the school management. It's seriously negligent that they had no filters on the school IT system to stop a pupil logging onto pornography and horror film sites. And I bet they gave you no proper briefings on the school's safeguarding procedures? Did they offer you safeguarding refresher training?

    Have you looked at their last Ofsted report? Did it say anything about the quality of safeguarding?
  7. Jimbot80

    Jimbot80 New commenter

    Hey thanks for your input.

    I don’t have a QTS is what I mean by unqualified. My whole experience is from TA/LSA roles. I was taken on as a tutor rather than a teacher.

    As for checking the computer, we literally had one laptop, I had only been there a week and hadn’t thought of checking if there was any net guard, I guess I just assumed there would be one as most schools do. I wasn’t in charge of their IT systems at all, I wasn’t even given a log on, we all shared an ex employees password.

    I checked his screen quite often, however I was moving around the class room as it was my art room and was still moving round organising materials( it was a mess when I started)
    agathamorse likes this.
  8. Jimbot80

    Jimbot80 New commenter

    I received no briefing on anything. There was a culture of “we don’t care anymore” as they were all losing their jobs within 8 weeks.

    I was given a safeguarding document to read through but that was it.

    Their last ofsted report was released late july, I hadn’t read it until after i started in sept, safeguarding was a serious issue.
    agathamorse likes this.
  9. Jimbot80

    Jimbot80 New commenter

    I should note that my agency have been very supportive through the process so far.

    I’ve already written a full statement and they have passed it on to the LADO.

    As far as I know the investigation will have only started today.
    agathamorse likes this.
  10. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Never yet saw a school or college internet filter which I couldn't get through in less than 30 seconds. It has been quick and effective way of disabusing SLT of what can/can't happen on their computers. And by 'through' I don't mean any sort of hacking, just using the Search engines slightly differently generates the results. Any student withy any sort of understanding about computers could work out out in a few minutes, or more likely just by accident if they learn how to dodge key words.

    On this occasion, while our colleague may be getting hung out to dry by the school, and the school may have been negligent, according to safeguarding standards he would probably get warned in some way of he were a permanent employee. As agency, they will just get shot as they have fine. I don't think it will affect his ability to teach in the future, more likely the school will cop it formally, privately their references will not reflect it, and everyone will walk away.
  11. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    Excellent advice from grumpydogwoman. Contact the LADO asap and say that you want to give a full account of the incident as soon as possible. Good luck.
  12. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    That's as may be, but it doesn't mean schools shouldn't bother trying to block access to inappropriate sites! OP states as a fact that this school had not put any blocks in place - " ...they did not in fact have any kind of net guard in place on the school IT system...". If I were OP I wouldn't have any truck with any argument that the school might put to LADO that it wasn't worth trying to control access to the internet because some students might find a way round it.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
  13. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    Please, can you come to my school and show me how to do this. :-/

    I am not sure where you have worked but if they had a system that you can circumvent in 30seconds then the IT Admin needs to consider his position or he/she has a cast iron letter from SLT saying that they cannot afford the filtering.
  14. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    Look at your home insurance, ring them you may be covered.

    Frankly having no filtering is not borderline negligent it is gobsmacking, my flabber is ghasted. There is no way you can or should be expected to go through the browser history every few minutes. Besides, why not just open an incognito tab?

    1. If you were given no training on this then they are at fault not you
    2. no filtering is a safeguarding issue
    3. expecting anyone to be able to monitor everything every pupil does every minute of the lesson, esp when computers are frequently facing away from you is not feasible.
    4. Where you given training on how to access the system that allows you to monitor each pupils screen? If they didn't have that software, why not? There are free versions.

    Whilst I am thinking, how is there no filtering but SLT have a print out of the sites that they visited?
  15. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    "who require 2:1 staff on my own all morning."

    Is this in writing in a PSP or the like somewhere?

    Do you know anyone in the school who could give you access to the SIMs records of behaviour of these students over the years?
    agathamorse and SundaeTrifle like this.
  16. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Words fail me. If the kids were accessing **** on iphones say and you hadn't noticed (although even then the lack of support) it might be a different issue.

    No filter system on the Internet? Thats the schools negligence, not yours. Fight this because its not you in the wrong here!
  17. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    I wonder if this school really has informed LADO, even though it has told the OP and the agency it has done so. Since the school has tacitly admitted its own negligence in not supporting the OP, and not having some sort of internet safety software in place, surely it would have more to lose.
  18. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Not a doubt in my mind that they have. To not do so while saying they did will invite serious repercussions, and it would inevitably be found out. That's a career ender for the senior management.
  19. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    What story could the school tell LADO that would exonerate its management, while dumping all the blame on the OP?
  20. install

    install Star commenter

    See Union. The school are to blame - no filtering system which as a teacher you would rightly expect them.to have.

    Their gunning for the wrong person :cool:
    MissGeorgi likes this.

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