Guidance

Teacher misconduct: information for witnesses

Find out what being a witness at a Teaching Regulation (TRA) hearing is like.

Overview

You may be asked to be a witness at a hearing by:

  • the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA), known as a TRA witness
  • a teacher or a teacher’s representative, known as a teacher witness

TRA witnesses

If you’re asked to be a witness by TRA, you’ll receive a copy of the full witness guide before the hearing.

Teacher witnesses

The teacher or the teacher’s representative may provide you with guidance.

Get the full witness guide

Contact us if you want a copy of the full witness guide.

Some parts may not apply to teacher witnesses. Check with the teacher or their representative to find out which parts apply to you.

Questions about the hearing

Contact us if you have any questions or concerns about the hearing process.

We cannot discuss specific details about the case with you.

More information

Becoming a witness

You’ll be asked to be a witness if:

  • you know or may know something about the case
  • your evidence may help the panel to make a decision

What you need to know

It’s important that you:

  • do not discuss the case with any other witnesses while it’s still going on
  • attend a hearing if you’re asked

This helps to make sure that:

  • your evidence is your own account of what happened
  • the hearing process is fair for everyone

Contact us if you:

  • cannot attend a hearing, for example, if you’re out of the country
  • have any questions or concerns about the hearing

Vulnerable witnesses

Giving evidence may be more difficult for particularly vulnerable people. This can include people who are:

  • aged 18 or under
  • directly involved in a case of a sexual nature
  • have learning difficulties

Special measures

Special measures may be available if you’re considered to be a vulnerable witness. These can include:

  • sitting behind a screen so the teacher cannot see you
  • giving evidence in private
  • having a witness supporter, such as a family member or a friend

Apply for special measures

You can:

  • contact us if you’re a TRA witness
  • contact the teacher or their representative if you’re a teacher witness

Not all applications for special measures can be agreed.

Attending a hearing

Start of the hearing

When it is your turn to give evidence, you’ll be taken to a hearing room where the panel will consider the case of alleged serious misconduct.

Giving evidence

You’ll be asked to give evidence under oath.

To ensure your evidence is understood, you may be asked:

  • questions about what you have said
  • to comment on an alternative version of events
  • to give more detail about your account

The panel will ensure that any questions you’re asked are appropriate.

The panel will tell you when you’re free to leave and when you are no longer under oath.

More information on who may ask you questions is available.

After you’ve given evidence

The panel will decide whether the facts of the case are proven.

If the facts of the allegations are proven, the panel will then decide whether they amount to:

  • unacceptable professional conduct
  • conduct that could bring the profession into disrepute
  • a relevant offence

Oaths and affirmations

An oath or affirmation means that you swear to tell the truth during the hearing.

Before you give evidence, you’ll be asked to do this by either:

  • placing your hand on the holy book of your choice
  • choosing to affirm (a non-religious way of swearing to tell the truth)

Holy books which will be available include:

  • the Bible
  • the Quran
  • the Sri-Gur Granth Sahib
  • the Torah
  • the Vedas

If the holy book of your choice is not listed, please contact us so we can make sure it is available for you.

Recording

The hearing is usually recorded by TRA.

Observers

Because hearings will usually be held in public, members of the public or the media may attend as observers.

Sometimes a hearing or part of a hearing can be held in private. If this happens, members of the public or media are not allowed to be in the hearing room.

People involved in the hearing

The panel

There will be 3 people on the panel. One of these will be the panel chair. The chair will direct and manage the hearing.

Presenting officer

This is a lawyer, appointed by the TRA, to prepare and present the case.

This is a lawyer, independent of the TRA, who gives advice to the panel about the law and TRA procedures.

The legal adviser is not involved in the decision making process.

Teacher

This is the person who is subject to the allegations. They may or may not chose to attend a hearing.

Teacher’s representative

A teacher may appoint a representative to present a case on their behalf. This person may be their lawyer, a union official or a friend.

Practical information

Location of hearings

Most hearings are held in Coventry at:

Teaching Regulation Agency

Ground Floor, South
Cheylesmore House
5 Quinton Road

Coventry
West Midlands
CV1 2WT

You can use Google maps to find out how to get to the above address. Some hearings are held elsewhere in Coventry but you will be informed of the location before the hearing.

Arrival time

You will be informed before the day of the hearing when to arrive.

You should sign in at our reception which is marked ‘Teacher Regulation Agency (TRA) reception’.

Parking

You must contact us before the hearing if you need a:

  • parking space
  • disabled parking space

We cannot, however, guarantee parking.

Duration

Hearings usually start at 9.30am and end at 5pm.

Where possible, you’ll be told when you’ll give evidence.

Facilities

At the hearing, there is usually:

  • a room where you can wait until you give evidence
  • a vending machine or canteen where you can buy drinks, and hot and cold food
  • free wifi

You may want to bring:

  • a book or a magazine to help you pass the time
  • loose change to buy food or drink

Expenses

You can usually claim expenses for:

  • travel costs
  • some meals and drinks
  • hotel accommodation

For full information on claiming expenses is available.

After the hearing

Hearing outcomes are usually published within 2 weeks of a prohibition decision being made and not the date the hearing concluded.

Your name will not appear in the decision when it’s published.

Feedback

We welcome your feedback about the hearing process, please contact us.

Contact us

Teacher misconduct

Information about regulating the teaching profession and the process for dealing with serious teacher misconduct.

Published 10 September 2014