The Teaching Council has today (20 June 2012) published a new Code of Professional Conduct for Teachers which will guide teachers’ professional judgement and practice. The Code sets out the standards of professional knowledge, skill, competence and conduct which are expected of registered teachers. In all, there are 33 such standards which reflect the complexity and variety of teaching and cover areas such as communication and relationships, equality and inclusion, compliance with national and school policies, professional development and pupil/student welfare. The standards are underpinned by four core values - respect, care, integrity and trust.
The new Code of Conduct replaces the existing Code which was published in 2007. It has been developed following a process of consultation with teachers and other stakeholders in education and takes account a number of developments in the intervening years.
One such development is the emergence of new technologies and social media which play a central role in the way people communicate and learn. This is having an impact across all education provision and, for that reason, the Code includes the following standard:
“Teachers should ensure that any communication with pupils/students, colleagues, parents, school management and others is appropriate, including communication via electronic media, such as e-mail, texting and social networking sites”.
The Council recognises the benefit that can be gained from appropriate use of electronic communications and social media in today’s learning environment. It also accepts that there is a balance to be struck between personal and professional interaction in what is ultimately the public forum of social media. The core values of respect, care, integrity and trust should inform the professional judgement of teachers in all that they do, including online communications with pupils/students, parents, colleagues and others in the school community.
The Code also takes account of the broader context in which teaching takes place and the myriad factors beyond teachers’ control which have a bearing on their work including: the engagement of parents and the wider community; opportunities for teachers’ professional development; and the accelerated degree of educational change.
Welcoming the publication of the Code, Teaching Council Director, Tomás Ó Ruairc, said:
“The publication of the new Code is an important and positive development for all those with an interest in the quality of teaching in our classrooms. Since the education system reaches into virtually every home in the country, and affects so many so deeply, it is crucial that the teaching profession's value system and professional standards are clear, readily understandable and easily accessible. The adoption of this Code of Professional Conduct for Teachers will enhance and deepen the confidence and trust that society places in teachers.”
Over the summer months, more than 3,500 newly qualified teachers are expected to register with the Teaching Council. As part of the registration process, each will be issued with a copy of the new Code. The Code will also be promoted to newly qualified teachers through a series of induction workshops which they will be required to engage in, so as to gain full registration. This will represent the start of a comprehensive communications process, which will see the Code being disseminated to all 73,000 registered teachers and relevant stakeholders by the start of the next school year.
Click here to download the new Code of Professional Conduct for Teachers