Row erupts over pay of teachers convicted of serious crimes

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Being convicted of a serious crime does not mean an immediate stop to pay for teachers in Wales, an investigation has revealed.

A survey of local education authorities in Wales found that teachers who have committed a crime can continue to be paid after the guilty verdict has been returned. 

Often a disciplinary investigation will take place and a decision to stop pay will only follow the verdict of the disciplinary hearing.

Even in cases of serious offences which would be considered as gross misconduct and employment is terminated, the individual will continue to receive their salary until the case is dealt with formally by a disciplinary hearing or when the court has passed sentence.

The practice was revealed following the recent conviction of former deputy headteacher of Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg in Cardiff, Gareth Williams, who, despite admitting a string of offences – including voyeurism and making and possessing indecent photos – continued to be paid for several months, until he was sentenced.

Cardiff council’s decision to continue to pay Williams, 47, who was jailed for five years, was criticised by education minister Huw Lewis. However an investigation by opposition party Plaid Cymru has revealed that other local education authorities across Wales would do exactly what Cardiff had done in similar cases.

Using the Freedom of Information Act, Plaid Cymru requested details of policy guidelines relating to when pay is stopped in cases in which a teacher was convicted of a serious crime.

Plaid’s education spokesman Simon Thomas has now called for an urgent review.

Mr Thomas said: “It cannot be right that public servants convicted or who plead guilty to very serious offences continue to be paid until they are sentenced.

“The public cannot understand how Mr Williams could continue to receive a salary after admitting those charges. There is a clear need for a review of the situation.

“This whole episode highlights the point Plaid Cymru has made for teachers’ pay and conditions to be devolved. 

“This would allow the Welsh government to address any anomalies and set a national level of pay and conditions for Wales. This would also prevent the fragmentation of teachers’ pay within Wales.”

  


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