Disciplinary procedures

Accompaniment at a disciplinary hearing

Accompaniment at your disciplinary hearing is crucially important. During your teaching career you may be invited to attend a formal disciplinary interview, either following a period of formal investigation or due to misconduct.

Accompanying a colleague to an investigation

There are a number of formal school processes that give members of staff a legal right to be accompanied at a meeting. The formal nature of these meetings is different to informal ones where the right to be accompanied is at the employer's discretion. An investigation is one example.

Appeal hearings

If you have attended a disciplinary or grievance hearing you will have the right for appeal if the outcome is not in your favour. Your school will have a disciplinary and grievance policy which will outline the appeals process in your school.

Can staff drink alcohol at school social events?

It might be coming up to the Christmas party, prom season or the end of year social event at your school. You might be wondering if you are able to drink alcohol if the event is hosted in your school or the event is during school lunchtime.

Can Teachers Boycott Ofsted?

Calls to boycott Ofsted have gathered momentum but what are the potential consequences for teachers of doing so? Read the objective guidance here.

Can teachers use mobile phones in school?

You might wonder if teachers are allowed to use their own personal mobile phones in school? Even though you might not be looking at your phone while teaching classes you might wonder if there are any rules or regulations on the topic.

DBS making representations

If the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) writes to say you may be barred from working/volunteering in regulated activity with children and /or adults, you can make representations. 

Early Conciliation

Early conciliation is a process to settle disputes in the workplace without going to an employment tribunal. The early conciliation process is managed by an organisation called ACAS.

Is ‘work at home’, the same as being suspended?

It is becoming more common for staff to be asked (or instructed) to work at home in circumstances surrounding an investigation. Suspension from work is where an employee continues to be employed under their contract of employment, but is instructed not to attend the workplace or undertake any work. This is typically whilst a disciplinary matter is investigated. 

Nolan Principles

As a teacher or headteacher you might have not heard of the Nolan Principles before. Interestingly, the Nolan Principles were referred to in the new Headteachers’ Standards which were published in October 2020.

Police investigation: do I need to inform my school?

During your teaching career you could be interviewed, investigated or even arrested by the police. Offences could range from speeding, drinking and driving, to sexual harassment or grooming of children online. In all serious cases, you will want to notify your line manager or headteacher about what has happened.

Suspended from school

You may be suspended from your school when you are being investigated for a disciplinary issue. You should normally be paid during this period and you should be told why you have been suspended. However, in some rare cases you may be suspended without pay if your employment contract says that this can happen.

Teaching prohibition order

A teaching prohibition order might be something you are aware of in the teaching profession. Essentially, if you are a member of school staff in England and you are referred to the TRA you could receive a prohibition order (where you could be banned from teaching).

Verbal and written warnings

As a member of school staff, you may receive a verbal or written warning as an outcome from a disciplinary meeting. 

What can I expect in a disciplinary meeting?

You may be invited to attend a disciplinary meeting at your school if you have been alleged of misconduct in your role. This will likely be a stressful time for yourself and you may not know what to expect. This article outlines what a disciplinary meeting is, how you can best be prepared and what the possible outcomes of attending a disciplinary meeting are.

What happens during a professional conduct panel hearing?

You may be invited to attend a professional conduct panel hearing by the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) if you have been alleged of serious misconduct at your school. This will most likely be a very distressing time and you might be unsure of what professional conduct panels actually are. This article outlines what you can expect at a professional conduct panel and where you can look for additional information on this topic.

What is an employment tribunal?

You may have heard of employment tribunals but probably have not experienced attending one before. You can make a claim to an employment tribunal if you think your school or academy trust has discriminated against or you have been treated unlawfully. In this article we outline what employment tribunals are, how you can make a claim to a tribunal and what to expect if you attend one.

What is an investigation meeting?

You may be invited to attend an investigation meeting if you have been alleged of misconduct at your school. The investigation meeting will be the first step of the disciplinary process, potentially leading to a disciplinary meeting and a sanction.

What is gross misconduct?

During your teaching career you may be accused of gross misconduct which is a very serious allegation and could result in you being banned from the classroom.

What is unfair dismissal?

Unfair dismissal can occur for school staff when your school or Trust does not have a good reason for dismissing you. GOV.UK explains that in certain situations, you may be able to take legal action if you are unfairly dismissed.