Teaching is characterised by high professional standards. The Teaching Council plays an important role in ensuring that these standards are upheld in the educational interests of young people and society. It fulfils this role by:
- publishing Codes of Professional Conduct for Teachers which set out the standards of professional practice and conduct appropriate to the profession
- investigating complaints made against registered teachers and applying sanctions where appropriate.
Code of Professional Conduct for Teachers
The Teaching Council published a new Code of Professional Conduct for Teachers on 20 June 2012. The Code 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.
Click here to download the new Code of Professional Conduct for Teachers
Click here to read more about the Code
One of the key functions of The Teaching Council will be to investigate complaints relating to the fitness to teach of registered teachers. If a complaint* is made about a registered teacher, the Council will have the authority to investigate the complaint; deal with it through its disciplinary procedures and, if appropriate, impose sanctions against the teacher in question.
Possible sanctions will range from the imposition of conditions on a teacher’s registration, to his or her suspension or removal from the Register of Teachers. The latter would effectively remove a teacher’s licence to teach. This is similar to the role of other professional bodies in regulating standards.
The Council’s investigative and disciplinary functions, as outlined above, have not come into effect although the Council understands that the Minister plans to introduce these functions in the coming months. In advance of that, the Council has been active in preparing for its role in this area. It has established Investigating and Disciplinary Committees and drafted Rules of Procedure for Disciplinary Panels. Once the relevant legal provisions have been enacted, this page will be updated. At that time, a range of guidance material for members of the public, and for registered teachers, will be made available.
In the interim, the Council is not in a position to deal with complaints in relation to professional standards.
*referred to in The Teaching Council Act as “an application for an inquiry”