Headteacher investigated after fishing licence fine
A Walsall headteacher has condemned "child protection gone mad" after he was investigated when a criminal records check showed he had forgotten to renew his fishing rod licence.
Bob Yeomans, head of St John's Primary School in Walsall, went fishing on the River Dove in Derbyshire last summer to relax after a typically busy week at work. As he fished, the water bailiff spotted Mr Yeomans and informed him that his licence had expired.
But despite owning up to the oversight immediately and paying a £50 fine, Mr Yeomans found himself at the centre of an inquiry - which has still not been resolved. Almost a year after the encounter with the water bailiff, the incident appeared on an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau check.
Mr Yeomans told the Times Education Supplement: "The chair of governors was notified that there could be an issue with a CRB check in the school and rang to tell me.
"I said, 'Is it a member of staff?' and he said, 'No, it's you.'
"I was shocked. He had to visit me and, in effect, he was being asked if I was fit to work with children for forgetting to renew my rod licence," he said. "It was just child protection gone mad. You would have thought someone would have had some common sense at an earlier stage."
The school is still waiting for official clearance to continue employing Mr Yeomans as headteacher, according to the paper. Mr Yeomans was not suspended but he criticised the waste of the time spent filling in forms and attempting to resolve the situation.
A Home Office spokesman said there was no way to avoid cases such as Mr Yeomans' coming up in detailed records checks.
"If you have an enhanced CRB check everything will appear and it is then up to the employer," he said. "It's better and safer for any contact the person has had with the police to be mentioned."
Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, of which Mr Yeomans is a member, said such micro-management of schools had gone "too far".
"One of our members forgot to renew his fishing licence and he was fined," Mr Brookes said. "The next thing he knew was his chair of governors phoning up to see whether he was still a fit person to run his school. That is the level of trivia which is bedevilling schools."