Teaching in a safe environment: letter from John Smith

Teaching in a safe environment: letter from John Smith

Teaching in a safe environment

Following the allegations of sexual abuse at Chetham’s, a letter from John Smith, MU General Secretary, was published in the Guardian on 13 Feb under the heading ‘Staving off abuse’.  This underlined the Union’s position on teaching in a safe environment:

“The allegations of sexual abuse at Chetham’s school of music (Report, 11 February) highlight once again how important child protection is. Two years ago the Musicians’ Union launched Keeping Children Safe in Music – an online course for instrumental music teachers. At the time we were heavily criticised by Michael Gove, who disagreed with us advising music teachers to avoid touching children during lessons, whereas what we were aiming to do was to professionalise the workforce. Our aim was always to educate instrumental teachers as to what was best practice in this area to minimise the threat of allegations but also to ensure that pupils were taught in a safe environment. Of course most instrumental teachers would never abuse children, but it is vital that they have access to child protection training because they often do not have the same information, training and support that is provided to classroom teachers. The government should be supporting the MU in its work in this area.

John Smith

General Secretary, Musicians’ Union”


The Union’s position on this issue was the subject of a feature in the Union’s journal of spring 2011, the pdf of which is available top right..

Posted: February 13, 2013

Categories: Teachers' Section