If you breach the behaviour expected by your school of their teachers, you may face disciplinary procedures. To ensure a just outcome, it is important that during this process you are treated fairly and in accordance with your school policy.
The legal picture
The Employment Rights Act 1996, Section 98, will underpin the process an employer should follow when investigating a disciplinary or capability issue.
If you teach in a maintained school, The School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009 require your governing body to be responsible for establishing the procedures for the regulation of the conduct and discipline of staff.
The Teachers’ Disciplinary (England) Regulations 2012 outline the process for cases in which the Teaching Agency will consider adding a teacher to the list of prohibited teachers. The Teaching Agency will judge the case against the personal and professional conduct section of the Teachers' Standards May 2012.
Your school will have a policy outlining disciplinary procedures. This will include an outline of how you would receive a statement in writing of what you are alleged to have done. It will also outline the investigatory and appeals processes, and any meetings that will be involved.
You can find out more from the ACAS code and guidance.
If, under the disciplinary procedures in your school, you are being accused of gross misconduct, or a breach of policy that makes you liable for dismissal, the meeting may take the form of a disciplinary hearing held by governors, your head teacher and local authority or trust or foundation representatives.
The standard of proof at these hearings is different from that in criminal cases, where guilt must be proved to be beyond reasonable doubt. Instead the panel will be asked to whether it is more likely than not likely that the teacher is guilty of the allegation. This can mean that a teacher may be judged to be guilty even if the panel members only think that the likelihood of guilt is marginally higher than the likelihood of innocence. They will be asked to make this judgement of the basis of the evidence compiled throughout the investigation.
In most cases, only matters amounting to gross misconduct would result in dismissal without notice. In all cases, a right of repeal should be provided.
In serious circumstances, your case may be referred to the Teaching Agency. The Teaching Agency hears cases of teacher misconduct that could result in a teacher being added to the list of prohibited teachers.
If you are facing the prospect of dismissal for either disciplinary or competency reasons, edapt can offer HR services and legal advice and representation to ensure you are treated fairly. If you believe you have been unfairly dismissed, edapt protection can cover the costs of taking your case to an Employment Tribunal.
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Infographic source: GTC, ‘Annual report on registration and regulation 2010-11’ (The GTC regulated teachers 1998 - 2011. It was superseded by the Teaching Agency in England.)