The Education Act 2011 introduced reporting restrictions preventing the publication of any material that may lead to the identification of a teacher who has been accused by, or on behalf of, a pupil from the same school.
The reporting restrictions apply until the teacher is charged with an offence or until the Secretary of State, or Education Workforce Council in Wales, publishes information about an investigation or decision in a disciplinary case arising from the allegation.
The reporting restrictions also cease to apply if the teacher waives their right to anonymity by going public, or by giving written consent for another to do so, or if a judge lifts restrictions in response to a request by a third party to do so.
Publication includes “any speech, writing, relevant programme or other communication in whatever form, which is addressed to the public at large or any section of the public”. This means a parent who publishes details of an allegation on social media would breach the reporting restrictions if what was published could lead to the teacher’s identification by members of the public.
Breach of reporting restrictions is a crime, punishable by a fine of up to £5000.