Q: I am a Headteacher and my Chair of Governors has called to tell me that I am suspended and must go home at once. He asked me for my keys and laptop and will only tell me that it is a safeguarding issue and that an enquiry will be undertaken by the local authority designated officer (LADO). I have been told not to contact anyone in the school and that a letter will follow.
A: It is not unusual for a colleague to be suspended if an allegation of safeguarding has been made against them and, indeed, sometimes, it is in a member’s best interests for this to happen. The ACAS statutory Code of Practice states,
“Where there appears to be serious misconduct, or risk to property or other people, a period of suspension with pay should be considered while the case is being investigated. This allows tempers to cool and hasty action to be avoided. Any suspension must be with pay unless the contract of employment allows suspension without pay, and any period of suspension should be as short as possible.
Tell the employee exactly why they are being suspended, and that they will be called in for a disciplinary meeting as soon as possible.”
In the case of a safeguarding issue, it may well be that an investigatory meeting takes place initially and any suspension may be connected with the potential or perceived risk to other people.
If you are an ASCL member and you have been suspended, whatever the reason, you should call the ASCL Hotline immediately on 0116 2991122, and we will assign a field officer to support you. The field officer may question your employer about the need for the suspension and will try to ascertain details of any allegations.
ASCL will support you, with the assistance of our legal team, throughout the process.