ALMOST 170 teaching staff are on a council list showing there are concerns about their working in schools.

They are not barred from working, but schools will be aware of the list of concerns, compiled by Essex County Council.

A total of 23 teachers and 14 other school workers have been added to the list in the past five years due to allegations of a sexual nature, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The majority of the teachers are on the list for accusations of a non-sexual nature, such as alleged assault.

Jerry Glazier, the National Union of Teachers’ general secretary for Essex, said, if teachers disputed the allegations or charges, this needed to be recorded on the list.

He said: “There have been some disputes where teachers have been concerned they have been misrepresented. Over the years, we have reached an accommodation where sometimes they are entitled to put an explanation or comment about it.

“The list is largely about inappropriate contact with students for non-sexual reasons, such as grabbing hold of someone’s arm.”

Mr Glazier said people convicted of sexual offences would be barred from working in schools due to being on the Sex Offenders’ Register.

He said: “The NUT is entirely committed to schools being safe places for anyone who works in them and for pupils being safe from sexual predators.

“We have a zero-tolerance approach.

“Unfortunately, pupils do make malicious allegations and it does serious damage to the teacher.

“They are often off work for many, many months as a result of allegations that come to nothing.”

He added the list was no longer comprehensive because academies report directly to the Department for Education, rather than the county council.

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “Employees on the list are those who have been flagged as people who may not be suitable for certain roles.

“They are aware of their inclusion and have the opportunity to appeal and make representations in accordance with the law.”