Furious music teachers have branded advice not to 'touch' pupils for fear of paedophile accusations a 'hysterical over reaction'.
The Musicians' Union has released a series of videos - which have the backing of the NSPCC - calling on its members not to touch their students. They claim the 'no touching' policy protects teachers - who are immediately suspended if allegations of improper touching are made - from career ruination through unfounded accusations.
But outraged music tutors say the film will only serve to escalate kids' fears of paedophilia. Many claim 'touching' is part and parcel of music tuition - repositioning hands and straightening backs being normal practice.
One of the Keeping Children Safe In Music videos depicts a music tutor teaching a youngster to play the violin. The boy looks concerned as the teacher moves in to put his fingers in the right place on the strings. The accompanying voice-over then says: 'There are times when you need to demonstrate particular techniques. In the past, this has been done by touching students, but this can make them feel uncomfortable, and can leave teachers open to accusations of inappropriate behaviour. It isn't necessary to touch children in order to demonstrate: there's always a better way.'
A clip is then shown of a teacher demonstrating correct positioning on his own violin, rather than the students.
The series of films, which are available on YouTube, are billed as an online resource allowing anyone teaching music to children to gain a better understanding of their child protection responsibilities and avoid situations that could lead to accusations of misconduct.
Music teachers have called it 'madness'. What do you think?
See the first in the series of films here:
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