Press release

Misconduct guidelines for teachers tightened

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Strict new guidelines say any sexual misconduct should lead to teachers being banned from teaching.

placeholder

Any teacher who receives a criminal conviction or caution involving indecent images of children should be banned from teaching, strict new guidelines set out today.

Changes to the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) ‘Teacher misconduct: the prohibition of teachers’ advice have been published today (17 January 2014) by the Department for Education.

The advice gives clear guidelines to the NCTL panels which consider cases of teacher misconduct. The panel’s recommendations are then referred to senior officials, who act on behalf of the Secretary of State, for a final decision.

The changes published today make clear our expectation that any sexual misconduct - not just ‘serious sexual misconduct’ as set out previously - and any criminal conviction or caution involving indecent images of children should lead to prohibition.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

Nothing is more important than ensuring children are protected when they are at school. We have already improved the system to make it tougher than ever before.

This revised advice sets out our expectation any sexual misconduct and any criminal conviction or caution involving indecent images of children should lead to prohibition from teaching.

High standards are expected of all teachers, and when making decisions panels should always take into account the need to maintain high levels of public confidence in the profession.

The publication of the revised advice follows an 8-week public consultation launched in July last year. The results showed 86% of respondents agreed that the advice should be revised to toughen guidance on cases involving sexual misconduct, while 90% supported revisions to clarify that panels should give serious consideration to evidence that a teacher has committed activity involving indecent images of children.

Notes to editors

  1. In June 2013, the Department for Education announced its intention to revise the ‘National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) teacher misconduct: the prohibition of teachers’ advice.

  2. Professional conduct panels act in a quasi-judicial capacity and properly assess the facts of any case before them. The advice makes clear that each case will continue to be considered on its own merits. Each panel consists of at least 3 members, all of whom are recruited through a public appointments process. At least one panel member will be a teacher or someone who has been a teacher in the past 5 years. At least one panel member will not be from the teaching profession.

  3. The number of prohibition orders has risen since the abolition of the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) and the introduction of the NCTL. See table below.

Prohibition orders by year

GTCE

Year Conduct
2001 to 2002 1
2002 to 2003 1
2003 to 2004 8
2004 to 2005 5
2005 to 2006 9
2006 to 2007 31
2007 to 2008 27
2008 to 2009 23
2009 to 2010 10
2010 to 2011 32
2011 to 2012 67

NCTL

2012 to 2013 98

DfE enquiries

Published 17 January 2014