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Press Releases 2015

Cost of Teacher Suspensions Grossly Excessive

Friday, 27 February 2015

A recent answer to an assembly question revealed that the cost of teacher suspensions was estimated by DE to be £943,648.74. The Department indicated that the costs arose from 11 individuals being suspended but did not indicate the length of each suspension or the reason for applying it.

Mr Tony Carlin, Senior Official, INTO, told the annual Northern Conference of the Organisation, in the Radisson Roe Hotel, Limavady, that the figure was considered by INTO to be a serious underestimate of the scale of the problem.

Mr Carlin told Conference, that in his role he had dealt with individuals who had been suspended for 5 years and that currently one member had been suspended for almost three years. Other suspensions have lasted well in excess of 18 months.

Mr Carlin said,

Governors are frequently happy to go with suspension because the cost of the suspension is met be the ELB. As a result of not having to meet the salary cost of the suspended teacher, a complacency sets in with regard to addressing the reason for enacting it.”

Mr Carlin continued,

“The problem is further compounded by the use of HR consultants who have little or no experience of teachers` terms and conditions of employment. This too frequently causes further delays as policies are ignored or at best made up to address the issue. In addition it further increases the cost of the suspension but it is hidden as the cost is not one attached to the teacher’s salary. The result is procrastination and delay with little or no attempt to solve the problem”

Mr Carlin concluded,

“INTO estimate that the cost of suspensions to the education budget is millions of pounds. We further estimate that the delays in dealing with complex issues have led some governors to believe that suspension rather than resolution is the norm. INTO is today highlighting this issue. We are asking for clear guidance to be developed and that the use of consultancy firms to deal with employment issues in schools would only occur in exceptional circumstances. The alternative is to continue as before and allow money that could be used to provide front line services to simply leech away.”