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Bankside Law was instructed to act on behalf of a primary school teacher who had been referred to the National College for Teaching & Learning (NCTL) after accepting a police caution for child neglect/abandonment in September 2015. In short, the facts of the matter were that the client had left his 4 year old son home alone whilst he went to the nearby shop to buy some milk. Whilst on his way home, he  was involved in a minor altercation which resulted in police attending the scene and him having to notify them that his son was alone at his house.

Upon being referred to NCTL, the client was also found to have been convicted of a drink driving offence in 2007 which he had failed to report. Although the matter was not pursued by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), the NCTL had felt the matter was so serious that a Prohibition Order ought to be considered.

Bankside Law’s instructions only came after the Investigating Panel had determined that the matter ought to be referred to the Professional Conduct Panel.

We drafted representations to the solicitors acting on behalf of NCTL which set out the following factors:

Firstly, at the time of his caution, the client was not employed in a teaching capacity and had not yet returned to teaching whilst this matter was ongoing. In addition, although the teacher had failed to report his drink drive conviction in 2007 to his professional body (pre-NCTL), he immediately notified his employer and was not reprimanded in any way (the school was aware of the personal difficulties he was experiencing at that particular time).

Secondly, that the caution was in the process of being appealed on the grounds of unfairness. The client was denied legal advice prior to accepting the caution as the interviewing officer had told him that he would need to spend the night in custody if he failed to accept his wrongdoing. 
Having considered the recent authority of Tariq Alsaifi v The Secretary of State for Education [2016] EWHC 1519 Admin, the NCTL conceded that it had no jurisdiction to consider the matter as, at the time of the caution, he was not employed as a teacher. As such, the case was closed with no further action.

The client said :

“From my initial approach you have proved yourself to be the best choice by far for me. Your reasonable fees and accommodating payment structure enabled me to engage your services.
Your personable but professional manner made me feel comfortable and I was made completely aware of the best outcome that you believed we could attain. Having you as my direct point of contact was a big factor. You were always available when I needed you and you retained the information I imparted to you excellently and, at no point did I need to correct anything I had told you or repeat myself.
Before I instructed you, I was pretty sure I was going to lose my registration. But, I'm very pleased to say that that is no longer even remotely the case. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, my professional career of 25 years is secure, and I'm looking forward very much to the future.
I would not hesitate ever to recommend you to defend someone in a situation such as mine.”