Liabour policy - Sex offenders OK to teach

So there are more sex offenders out there in our schools. What is the point in a sex offender list if it is ignored? I bet none of them would end up with posts at the London Oratory or the other schools where the great and the good send their is for the proles to take their chances with the system.

Meanwhile, "hunt the minister" continues as questions are asked which junior minister made the decision....I would point out that among the potential candidates for blame is Margaret Hodge who, in an earlier career presided over a local authority rife with sexual abuse and smeared a victim of such abuse when in ministerial office....

Review of sex offenders in school

Ms Kelly has faced criticism for clearing Paul Reeve to work with children
Education Secretary Ruth Kelly has announced an urgent review of the systems by which people are cleared to work with children.
Her department had allowed Paul Reeve to work as a PE teacher, even though he had been cautioned for accessing banned images of children.

She admitted others who were on the Sex Offenders register were not on her department's proscribed list - List 99.

But she declined to say how many and said she had asked officials to check.

Ms Kelly said in a written statement to MPs she took "full responsibility" for decisions taken in the department on whether individuals should be placed on England's List 99.

Speaking later to reporters, she said the issues involved were "really serious" for child protection and for the government.

Pressed on the number of individuals involved, she said she believed it to be "very small".

"What I'm not going to do is to stand here and give you a ball park figure."

There had been mounting incredulity that registered sex offenders might not be placed automatically on her department's banned list.

"These are complex issues taken on the basis of professional advice including police advice," she said.

A spokesman for the prime minister had said Mr Blair had full confidence in her.

"A number of reports suggesting her job was in jeopardy are simply wrong," he said.

It is thought a junior minister took the decision not to place Paul Reeve - who was given a job at the Hewitt School in Norwich - on List 99.

The Department for Education (DfES) wrote to Norfolk County Council in May last year to say it had approved him to work in schools.

It said "the risks of the teacher being allowed to continue teaching were acceptable".

Norfolk Police had reportedly followed strict Home Office guidelines in placing him on the Sex Offenders Register.

Mr Reeve resigned from his post after they intervened.

Ms Kelly said the review would make public all such decisions since the Sex Offenders Register was created.

It would cover how the "closest possible alignment" between the Sex Offenders Register and List 99 could be achieved and how police could be more fully consulted before decisions on including individuals on List 99 were reached.

One aspect of the review would be to consider whether ministers ought to be making such decisions at all.

Shadow education secretary David Willetts said her admission of other cases in which people on the Sex Offenders' Register had not been banned from working in schools was "extraordinary".

"We now need to know as a matter of urgency how many such cases there have been, and whether heads were made aware they were employing someone on the Sex Offenders' Register," he said.

"It seems from her statement that she is now trying to shift responsibility to others by saying that from now on she will consider cases personally.

"We still need to know if she personally took the decision about Mr Reeve, or if not, which minister or official was acting in her name."

The more the affairs dragged on, the more serious were the concerns about her judgement.

"We still need straight answers to the questions I put to her on Monday, instead of more ducking and diving.

"This is not a matter of party politics. It will concern every parent across the country."

His concerns were echoed by Liberal Democrat spokesman Edward Davey.

"This serious lapse of judgement by Ruth Kelly has exposed an extremely worrying state of affairs," he said.

"Many people will be shocked that this type of decision is taken by a minister and not an expert group.

"Parents will want to know there is going to be better collaboration between government departments in future."
All their policies are disjointed and all over the place. They preach one thing while doing another, often enough nicking any decent policies from other parties and messing them up during the implementation being over zelous part of the time and half hearted the rest, but at the wrong times. Why sound so surprised this time?

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