Draft conduct code sets out standards to strive for

It is no longer enough simply to teach children and avoid punching particularly annoying parents. Under the proposed new code of conduct, published today in draft form by the General Teaching Council for England, teachers are expected to be far more proactive.

So, for example, moaning about a colleague's inability to load the dishwasher might fall short of your duty to develop "productive and supportive relationships with all school colleagues". And the colleague could be picked up for failing to "keep up to date with important changes in society, the economy and in technology".

The draft code states that it is intended to be a "'touchstone' to help teachers understand what is expected of them and to guide everyday judgments and actions".

The previous code set out cases under which disciplinary action would be considered, while the proposed one outlines the expectations all teachers should strive for. The change makes it difficult to compare the two, although there is clearly more emphasis on working with other agencies as a result of Every Child Matters. Teachers risk losing their registration if they fall seriously short of the code's standards.

The section on working as a whole-school team does not mention the flippant dishwasher case, but it does give examples of bad practice including bullying, being under the influence of alcohol at school, and using the internet for personal reasons during lesson time.

Wales' GTC this week heard the case of Sian Mediana, a primary teacher accused of spending up to three hours a day surfing websites such as Facebook and Friends Reunited while in class.

Teachers have until February 27 to comment on the draft code, which can be seen at www.opm.co.ukgtc.

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