'Man teachers deserve a lifetime ban but Michael Gove does not deserve to be Prime Minister'

In the two decades I have been teaching, I’ve seen several members of staff dismissed for inappropriate conduct, reports our secret teacher.

Thursday, 13th June 2019, 12:50 pm
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 26: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Michael Gove (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

During my PGCE year, we had an afternoon tutorial session on the catastrophic mistakes that could lead teachers to be struck off in career-finishing moments.

In a room filled with youngsters about to embark on their career, there was a feeling that it could never happen to you; we almost laughed at how stupid people would have to be to make these job- ending decisions.

Teachers are meant to be role models for the children we teach and we are, quite rightly, held up to a high level of moral scrutiny – we are expected to practice what we preach.

And yet, at times taking me by surprise, I’ve seen plenty of teachers and support staff given their marching orders for falling short of these standards.

Distressingly, there has been more than one of my colleagues over the years who has had an inappropriate relationship with a sixth form student.

Stupidly, there have been some staff who lost their job for stealing equipment from school. And don’t get me started on the number of people I know who have fallen foul of using social media in ways they should not really have, given their community role and link with children.

Just like in the wider society, drug use is a problem within the some areas of the teaching community and the consequences of it can be devastating both for the member of staff and those close to them.

If a teacher is found with illegal drugs on them – even if for personal use rather than to supply others – they can be banned from the profession and then face the consequences it will have on their family, mortgage payments and career.

Not surprising, then, that when my headteacher once targeted students with a random drug search with police sniffer dogs that I saw a couple of teachers turn white.

Teachers being banned from the classroom because of drug misuse is, thankfully, a rare occurrence, but it has certainly happened.

And when it does – as in a couple of times this year already – it will be reported in the national press because, as we know, the media love to hold up a teacher who is not living a life of high moral fibre.

Ironically, the man who got tough on teachers using drugs and decided they would not be fit to stand in a room full of 30 kids for the rest of their life is the same man who has hit the headlines for drug misuse.

Michael Gove is one of the few education secretaries who will be remembered for decades to come. Most come and go whilst making an insignificant impact, but Gove has pressed forward a rapid academisation programme, shaken up the national curriculum, introduced performance related pay, changed teacher pensions and altered the GCSE examination system.

Yet if you go back in time a little more than ten years before Michael Gove took over as the education secretary, he was working as a journalist in London with a habit of snorting cocaine.

Cocaine is an incredibly powerful drug that goes way beyond the recreational pleasure of cannabis and I’ve seen more than one life ruined by tragic lines of this white powder.

I’m not going to judge wealthy people working in the pressure infused capital city who turn to drugs, but what I cannot tolerate is the hypocrisy of a man who saw fit to introduce anti-drug laws against teachers knowing that he had a background of drug misuse.

There are teachers who have made mistakes in their life who will not be allowed to rectify them, and yet the cocaine-snorting fantasist who insisted they be banned from the classroom is now standing to be Prime Minister.

There are many teachers who have deserved a lifetime ban from being in the classroom and it is right and proper that we uphold high standards and expectations of our teachers.

But a politician who sets those high standards while having already failed to meet them has no place in number 10 Downing Street.