Protecting our future: Why whistleblowing is important in schools & education

Whistleblowing in education sector illustration

December 6, 2022

When workers report wrongdoings on the job to protect the public, this is called "whistleblowing." With the new legislation behind them, whistleblowers now have more protection than ever before.

It's an important practice because it helps organizations identify fraud and bad behavior. People who want to blow the whistle can do so either internally or externally. It is beneficial for a school or university if workers primarily report internally to management.

Encouraging internal reporting can prevent wrongdoing from having wider consequences and unwanted attention from a public scandal. You can learn more about internal whistleblowing in the post why internal whistleblowing is superior, which can be found on Visslans blog. If a school has a culture of 'whistleblowing', staff will be more likely to report internally rather than externally.

Not every complaint is a whistleblowing

Not all complaints are categorized as whistleblowing matters. For a complaint to be considered whistleblowing, it must be in the public interest. Personal complaints are complaints about things and events that are not of interest to the public. This does not automatically mean that all whistleblower cases are of interest to the public. We take a closer look at this in which whistleblower cases are of public interest? which can be found on our website.

Also read: Checklist for handling whistleblowing reports

If you are unsure whether your case counts as a whistleblowing case or how you should proceed with your report, there are numerous tools to lean on. Among other things, your school's whistleblowing policy should explain how you should proceed and what should actually be reported via the channels. At Visslan you will find a standardized whistleblower policy that also offers preparatory steps before implementation.

In addition to that, there are several posts on the Whistleblower's blog that explain how a general whistle-blowing case works.

How to report a problem at school

There should be a way for people to report problems in both public and private schools. The governing bodies are responsible for formulating and keeping this policy in place. It must also explain how the school should handle whistle-blowing cases.

All employees must be able to report and/or talk to an employee or relevant staff about their concerns.

Also read: Why whistleblowers are important in society

Why is whistleblowing important in schools?

Whistleblowing is very essential in schools because it protects everyone – students, teachers, and the board. It helps to quickly find mistakes and fraud so that they can be corrected in a short time.

Whistleblowing should serve as a protection for people within an organization. But for it to be a functioning protection, a culture of reporting irregularities is required.

To foster a whistle-blowing culture, staff need to know what protections they have when reporting, what types of issues count as whistle-blowing, and the different ways they can report. When you motivate whistleblowers to report misconduct, the chances of whistle-blowing being used increase. Regular whistleblowing training is an important part of making people more aware of what whistleblowing is and how it can help them.

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