A teacher at a north London school has been suspended for allegedly encouraging students to protest over university tuition fee increases.
According to reports, a parent complained and although Sue Caldwell, a teacher at Friern Barnet School, denies the accusations, she has been suspended pending investigation. With the high profile conviction of Edward Woollard last month and the unfortunate fact that the violence which erupted during the protests has somewhat eclipsed the cause, the suspension seems something of an over-reaction in the circumstances.
During the protests, teachers were heavily criticized for ‘allowing’ students under 16 to attend the protests – quite how they were expected to stop them short of locking the classroom door is anyone’s guess – and a great deal of the subsequent media debate centred on whether or not students should be ‘allowed’ to protest or even be capable of holding a valid opinion on political issues.
The NUT and UNISON have apparently written to the head of the school demanding Ms Caldwell’s reinstatement while the Barnet Alliance for Public Services are providing a petition and the inevitable Facebook page.