Some new SIs relating to teachers

March 8th, 2012

On 5th March 2012 a small cluster of statutory instruments following on from some of the changes brought in by the Education Act 2011 were laid before Parliament. Primarily, these address some of the consequences of the abolition of the General Teaching Council for England (“the GTCE”) (abolished by section 7 of the 2011 Act as from 1st April 2012). The regulations are the Teachers’ Disciplinary (England) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/560) (“the Disciplinary Regulations”), the Education (Teacher Student Loans) (Repayment etc) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/555) (“the Student Loans Regulations”), and the Education (Induction Arrangements for School Teachers) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/513) (“the Induction Amendment Regulations”) . All three regulations come into force on 1st April 2012.

The Disciplinary Regulations are the most substantial of the three. They provide for the procedure to be adopted by the Secretary of State when considering making a prohibition order under the new arrangements for teacher disciplinary regulation under sections 141A to 141E of the Education Act 2002 (inserted by the 2011 Act) following the abolition of the GTCE. The main points are:

  • Any decision under the Regulations may take into account a failure to comply with the personal and professional conduct standards set out in Teachers Standards.
  • Where the Secretary of State considers that a teacher may be guilty of unacceptable professional conduct or conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute or has been convicted of a relevant criminal offence, he must consider whether to discontinue the case or refer it to a professional conduct panel.
  • The professional conduct panel will consists of three persons (including at least one teacher and at least one other person) and must hold a hearing unless the teacher requests otherwise.
  • If the panel decides that the case is proven it must consider whether to make a recommendation to the Secretary of State that he make a prohibition order. The Secretary of State has to consider that recommendation and publish his decision. Where he decides to make such an order he must give notice to the teacher setting out the text of the order, the effect of the order and his reasons for making the order. The reasons must also be published. The Secretary of State must specify whether the order may be reviewed and, if so, the minimum period before which an application for review may be made.
  • The Secretary of State may also at any time when a decision is pending as to whether to make a prohibition order make an interim prohibition order if he considers it necessary in the public interest to do so. The teacher must be given seven days’ notice. The Secretary of State must review the order within 6 months and thereafter at 6 month intervals if the teacher makes a written application requesting a review.
  • There is a right of appeal against a prohibition order (but not an interim prohibition order) to the High Court within 28 days of notice of the order being served.

The Education (Teacher Student Loans) (Repayment etc) Regulations 2003 provide for reduction and repayment of student loans owed by newly qualified teachers in subjects where there are shortages of teachers. The Student Loans Regulations do two things. First, they remove the reference to the GTCE from regulation 10 of the 2003 Regulations (which requires the GTCE and General Teaching Council for Wales to provide information to the Secretary of State when he is considering an application by a teacher). Secondly, they revoke the Education (Teacher Student Loans) (Repayment etc) Regulations 2002, which should have been revoked when the 2003 Regulations came into force but were not.

The Education (Induction Arrangements for School Teachers) (England) Regulations 2008 provide that no qualified teacher is to be employed as a teacher at a relevant school unless he or she has satisfactorily completed an induction period. The Induction Amendment Regulations amend the 2008 Regulations in three areas:

  • They allow an induction period to be served in a 16-19 Academy (once the provisions in section 53 of the 2011 Act establishing such Academies are fully in force).
  • They add two new categories to the list of persons exempt from completing an induction period, namely those with Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills status and those qualified to teach in the state sector in Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA.
  • They substitute the Secretary of State for the GTCE in relation to certain functions in respect of induction periods. These principally concern: (a) the appointment of appeal panels to consider appeals against a decision that an induction period should be extended or that a teacher has failed satisfactorily to complete an induction period, and (b) the maintenance of a list of persons who have begun, but failed satisfactorily to complete, an induction period.

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