Warwick Mansell reports on the General Teaching Council's standards document.
THE first attempt to devise a new code of practice for teachers would see 52 separate demands imposed on the profession.
The draft "code" circulated to members of the General Teaching Council as "the starting point for discussions" includes controversial new requirements on staff.
The document includes a suggestion that teachers should report themselves to their employer if they believe themselves to be incompetent.
The code - intended as a defining part of the drive to raise the profession's status - as currently written, would also see the demise of many end-of-term staff parties, with its requirement that teachers should never be under the influence of alcohol on school premises.
The word must features 41 times in the five-page document, circulated to GTC members. It contrasts starkly with a draft professional code which Scotland's GTC recently put out for consultation. That code stipulates only 11 responsibilities, couched in general terms, and the word must does not appear at all.
The English version proposes new rules governing relationships with pupils, parents and employers, competence and commitment to the profession.
The council emphasised that the circulated document was not an early draft of the code, but a paper intended to provoke discussion among members by in effect amalgamating the codes of practices of other professions.
Carol Adams, the council's chief executive, said a full draft code is expected by the end of the year.
Doug McAvoy, general scretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "The GTC has got to demonstrate that there is a need for such a code in the first place.
"What we do not want is to end up with something that makes teachers more vulnerable, rather than supporting their professionalism."
Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said he was concerned that a code could "expose teachers to umpteen different claims from every man and his dog".
A GTC member, who asked not to be named, said: "I was slightly concerned about the tone of the document, and the use of the word 'must'. "It's something many members have picked up.
"I think the document that eventually emerges will be radically different from the current version."
The churches are likely to be unhappy because the "code" does not discuss appointing staff on grounds of faith.
A full copy of the 'code' can be seen on the TES's website www.tes.co.uk
Leader, 20 CLAUSES FROM THE FIRST 'CODE'
Teachers must co-operate and collaborate with parents, guardians and colleagues
Teachers must only undertake home visits with the approval of the headteacher
When speaking publicly 'in the capacity of a professional educationalist', (teachers) must make clear their qualification to make such statements'
Teachers must try to inspire pupils with their own enthusiasm and act as a positive role model
Teachers must ensure they are competent to fulfil their role at all times and must notify their employer if they are not