Evan contacted our helpline after losing his teaching job as a result of a conviction for assault.
He explained that he wouldn’t have classed himself as a violent person and in all his years of teaching, he had never lost his temper with any of his pupils. He had always been well thought of by both students and parents and had achieved excellent academic results for his school.
His conviction had come about following an argument with his son which had got out of hand. He explained that he had pushed his son out of sheer frustration and accepts that in hindsight, he had been too heavy handed. The incident had been witnessed by his former partner who had reported him to the police.
Evan explained that he was ashamed and embarrassed by his actions and although they’d had no long lasting adverse effect on his relationship with his son, he was distraught at the thought of never being able to teach again. He told us that he was totally committed to teaching and didn’t have the skills or experience to do anything else. As every job he applied for in this field required him to have an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check, this meant that he would always need to disclose his conviction and Evan didn’t feel that he could bring himself to discuss this with an employer.
We asked Evan to consider some of the positives about his situation, namely that he hadn’t been placed on the children’s barred list and could therefore still legally work as a teacher, and also that he had a lot of transferable skills that he could utilise in other types of work. Although many schools can be risk adverse when considering employing somebody with a conviction, there is no blanket ban on people with convictions being teachers.
We confirmed that Evan’s situation with regards the disclosure of his conviction was unlikely to change for several years (and would be subject to the law changing) and so if he wanted to continue teaching in a school/college etc. he would need to overcome his embarrassment and start considering how he would go about disclosing his conviction. We provided Evan with some advice around disclosure plus information around volunteering and self-employment to give him ideas for other avenues which he may want to consider.
Evan contacted the helpline several months later to say that he had set himself up as a private tutor. Word had got around that he was no longer able to teach at the school, but he had been approached by a couple of parents who had asked him whether he would be prepared to give private tuition to their children. They were aware of his conviction, and based on the advice given to him by Unlock, Evan had then spoken with his union and probation officer and realised that this could be a option for him. He has since sourced the relevant insurance and has just started to ‘market’ his services. Evan explained that he always offers his clients the opportunity to see (or have a copy of) his latest DBS certificate before they book any lessons with him. To date, he has not been asked to provide this to any parent which, he believes, is due to his being well known to them.
Teaching is all I’ve ever done and when I was sacked I was at a loss to know what I was going to do in the future. Speaking to somebody at Unlock made me realise that I did have other choices’.
This case highlights how it is possible to continue doing the same job but doing it in a different way. Becoming self-employed can often overcome the barriers of disclosing to employers and their approach to criminal record checks.
Notes about this case study
This case study relates to Unlock’s helpline.
Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.