Parents concerned over increase in teachers struck off

Parents concerned over increase in teachers struck off

There's concern about the rising number of teachers being struck off the teachers' register.

3 News can reveal the number of teachers stripped of their registration has increased by more than three times since 2010 – a large proportion of those for sexual offences.

Pornography, sexual misconduct, and drugs are just some of the offences that have caused teachers to be struck off.

"We trust teachers so much with our kids and this shows that sometimes this trust isn't justified," says Parenting Place spokesperson John Cowan.

Eighteen teachers were removed from the register in 2010 – that number increasing nearly every year to 2014, when 56 were struck off. Nearly 40 percent of those were for offences of a sexual nature.

"You wonder what sort of abuse the children are being subjected to that hasn't been detected," says Mr Cowan. "The effect is terrible on children who have been affected by people who can't control their sexual appetite."

The startling numbers follow a string of high-profile cases, including convicted paedophile and former Northland teacher James Parker.

More recently former Auckland Grammar teacher Simon Toon was caught performing an indecent act in a classroom.

The Education Council says the rise is partly due to greater reporting.

"Any one case is a concern, but we do need to put this in context. There are 100,000 registered teachers in New Zealand and in 2014 that was only 0.05 percent of teachers," says Education Council chief executive Julian Moore.

Some believe digital media is to blame.

"It's easy for teachers to cross that boundary and text or email a student inappropriately – what is also true is that they are easily traced now," says Secondary Principals' Association president Sandy Pasley.

Licensed teachers are currently subject to police checks at the start of their employment, but from January they'll be vetted before they even begin their training.

"When you take that combined with the requirement to report through to the council if there's serious misconduct or teacher issues, we think parents can be confident there are the right controls in place," says Mr Moore.

They're steps that will hopefully curb the number of bad teachers.

3 News