Teachers Forced To Register Pupils' Gifts Over Bribery Concerns

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Teachers are often given extravagant gifts, particularly at Christmas
Teachers are often given extravagant gifts, particularly at Christmas

A school in Scotland has ordered its teaching staff to declare presents from pupils in order to prevent bribes from parents, reigniting the debate of whether the practice is ethical.

Edinburgh Academy, which charges £11,000 a year, issued guidelines warning disciplinary action would be taken against teachers who accept gifts which could be interpreted as an attempt to "influence the progression of their child," the Express reported.

"Where the item is of a material value, ie above £40, the gift should be declared," the guidelines state. "Where the donor is suspected of attempting to influence the award of a purchasing contract the gift should be declared and declined."

The school made it clear it was unaware of any efforts to bribe staff and the measures were merely precautionary.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), one of the country's largest teaching unions said gifts of significant monetary value can place teachers in "an uncomfortable position".

"While it is understandable that some pupils may wish to give their teacher a gift at special times, such as Christmas or when leaving the teacher’s class for the last time, it is important any gifts are appropriate and of a token nature," a statement from the EIS said.

A survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) found 93% of 1,000 teachers questioned had received gifts.

Although chocolate was the most common presents given was chocolate (85% of gifts), others included opera tickets, Tiffany bracelets, an Yves St Laurent scarf and Test match tickets.

But the issue is nothing new and questions over how ethical it is for teachers to receive such gifts have been regularly debated.

In 2011, the Bribery Act 2010 came into force and its remit extended to schools. The act introduced four new criminal offences, including the offence of bribing and the offence of being bribed.

The Act stipulated all schools should take certain steps to minimise the risk of liability under the Act including maintaining a register of donations and appointing a senior individual to be responsible for overseeing anti-bribery procedures.

Katie, a primary school teacher in Reading, said she received presents from her pupils at both Christmas time and the end of the Summer term.

"They're not bribery gifts, they're simply a way of parents saying thank you," she told The Huffington Post UK. "To be honest, a card would say just as much as chocolate or flowers. A lot of the time I don't really know what to do with all the presents."

Although some agreed, with teacher Emma May saying: "How ridiculous. Over-analysing! A thank you is a thank you, and much appreciated. We're not open to bribery."


Rachel Paterson
Yes, a gift lets a teacher know they're appreciated. Any good teacher should recognise a bribe and not be swayed.

Others, however, aren't so sure:


Sarah Musgrove
Known people to gift AFTER work has been handed in; fair enough, as a thank-you. Before is suspicious...stay safe than sorry.

Do you think giving gifts to teachers is appropriate? Let us know.