What is regulation?
The vast majority of teachers are committed to maintaining the highest standards of professional conduct. If a registered teacher’s conduct falls short of these standards, GTCNI will investigate and, if necessary, remove them from the Register. This is regulation.
The public have come to expect that all professionals are registered and value the reassurance that regulation brings. Professional self–regulation is hard won, and should be valued by the profession, by their representatives, and by those who employ teachers.
How does regulation Work?
There are four main stages involved in regulation:
Referral where an allegation, complaint or referral is received by GTCNI.
Screening to establish if the referral falls within our statutory remit and if any relevant employer processes have been completed.
Investigation where an Investigating Committee, drawn from the membership of our Regulatory Panel, will look at the available evidence and a written response from the teacher concerned and decide if a teacher has a case to answer.
A Conduct hearing where a Conduct Committee, drawn from the membership of our Regulatory Panel, will hear all of the facts relating to the case and make a decision about the allegation and whether a teacher should be removed from the Register. The teacher concerned has a right to make representations.
If an allegation of misconduct is proven or a teacher is convicted of a relevant criminal offence, and a Conduct Committee finds that the behaviour is fundamentally incompatible with being a teacher, the only sanction available to GTCNI is removal from the Register.
What power does GTCNI have to regulate?
GTCNI was established by the Education (NI) Order 1998 to provide a range of functions including maintaining a Register of teachers, regulating the teaching profession and providing advice to DE and employers about important professional issues including registration and professional standards.
The General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (Registration of Teachers) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 gives GTCNI the power to remove a teacher from the Register on the grounds of misconduct. This legislation also means individual teachers can make representations to GTCNI and that any teacher, who has been removed from the Register, has the right of appeal to the High Court.
How do I make a complaint about a registered teacher?
In the first instance, you should contact the school principal of the teacher in question and use the school’s complaints policy.
If you require further guidance you can also contact the employing authority, e.g. a school governing body, CCMS or Education Authority.
If you believe the matter is a child welfare/protection issue you can go directly to the PSNI or social services.
What rights does a teacher have?
GTCNI will carry out an initial screening assessment to ensure that any complaint or allegation falls within our statutory remit and will only consider an allegation that relates to misconduct or conviction of a relevant criminal offence.
We will ensure that any teacher about whom an allegation has been made is fully informed at every step of the process.
A teacher has the right to provide written information to the Investigating Committee and to make a representation at a Conduct Committee hearing, which may include trade union or legal representation.
A decision made by a Conduct Committee to remove a teacher from the Register can be appealed to the High Court within 28 days from the date on which the decision is made.
Who sits on GTCNI’s Regulatory Panel?
Investigation or Conduct Committees will consist of three to five people, drawn from our Regulatory Panel, and must include at least one lay member and one registered member.
The Regulatory Panel is independent and includes both registered teachers (registered members) and non–teachers (lay members) who have demonstrated high levels of appropriate skills and knowledge and the integrity and experience required to make impartial and unbiased decisions. This is a voluntary role.
All panel members receive training and support to ensure GTCNI can deliver its statutory remit in the interests of both the public and the teaching profession.
What is the difference between the role of an employer and GTCNI?
The employer (or employing authority) will be a school Board of Governors or body such as the Education Authority or CCMS. They are required to deal with any allegation of misconduct using the agreed disciplinary process as set out in the ‘Disciplinary Procedure for Teachers including Principals and Vice–Principals in Grant–Aided Schools with fully delegated Budgets’ (TNC 2016/2).
The employer also has a duty to notify GTCNI about any teacher who is dismissed, or resigns prior to dismissal, on the grounds of misconduct; and to provide GTCNI with the information it needs to carry out an investigation or any subsequent conduct hearing.
GTCNI has a duty to ensure that a registered teacher is suitable to be a member of the teaching profession in Northern Ireland. GTCNI also has a responsibility to investigate referrals and to remove a teacher from the GTCNI Register if misconduct is proven at a conduct hearing.
Who is responsible for the regulation of substitute teachers?
GTCNI is responsible for the regulation of all teachers in Northern Ireland that fall within its statutory remit, this includes substitute teachers.
It is the responsibility of the employer to deal with any allegation of misconduct using the agreed disciplinary process as set out in the ‘Disciplinary Procedure for Teachers including Principals and Vice–Principals in Grant–Aided Schools with fully delegated Budgets’ (TNC 2016/2). This includes substitute teachers.