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Students may give evidence at teacher hearings

Posted by SchoolDays Newshound on 26/05/2014. Students may give evidence at teacher hearingsTags: Teachers Education And Politics Parenting

The Teaching Council, which was established in 2006, is responsible for ensuring high professional standards within the teaching profession. One of it’s key roles will be to investigate complaints made against registered teachers and applying sanctions where appropriate – currently such complaints are dealt with at school level.

While the Council’s investigative and disciplinary functions are not yet in effect it is expected that the Minister will enact legislation this summer to provide for 'Fitness to Teach' investigations. Such investigations would be viewed as a last resort and would only be initiated after all school disciplinary processes have been exhausted.

When the new laws have been enacted, any individual may apply to the Teaching Council for an inquiry into a teacher's fitness to teach, where there are serious grounds for concern. A Teaching Council Investigation Committee would then decide whether the case should be put forward to a Disciplinary Committee.

According to the Teaching Council’s website, “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.”

As part of the investigation process, pupils and/or parents may be asked to give evidence. Hearings may be either in public, in private or a mix of both. This would facilitate a situation where children's evidence could be given in private, similar to what happens in the courts.

According to Teaching Council Director Tomas O Ruairc said the circumstances where children or parents might be called to give evidence would depend on the circumstances of the case. He said they would not necessarily be confined to cases where the complaint originated with parents or children.


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