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Teacher speaks up over student safeguarding concerns

Niamh (not her real name) was a teacher in a special needs school and had safeguarding concerns surrounding the behaviour of one of the other teachers at the school. Niamh witnessed a teacher showing her colleagues a sexually explicit image of one of the students. The same teacher also spoke inappropriately about her own sex life in front of another student.

Niamh raised her concerns internally and the teacher was suspended for several months. Once elapsed, the teacher returned to the school and resumed her position. Furthermore, Niamh was in fact disciplined by her employer for not having raised her concerns sooner.

Shortly thereafter, Niamh resigned because she did not wish to continue working alongside the other teacher. She wrote to the Education Authority, who reassured her that her concerns had been dealt with. Niamh was frustrated with the handling of her concerns, and believed that safeguarding issues would remain so long as the teacher remained at the school.

Niamh believed that by disciplining her, her employer had subjected her to negative treatment for raising her concerns. As she was not satisfied with the outcome of the Education Authority’s investigation, Niamh contacted Protect for advice on how to escalate the matter.

Protect advised Niamh to first approach the governors of the school with her concerns. Failing that, Niamh was advised to re-engage with the Education Authority and appeal their findings.