Understanding the Legal Framework
In April 2015 the Department of Education amended the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (Registration of Teachers) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2004 and have GTCNI the power to consider cases and remove a teacher from the register on the grounds of misconduct.
Our role as a regulator is defined by legislation and the GTCNI Conduct Rules 2019. The specific powers are contained in the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (Registration of Teachers) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 (SR 2015/151). These regulations, made under Article 36(3) and (5) of the Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1998, set out the framework within which GTCNI will deliver this statutory function.
The General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (Registration of Teachers) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 allow:
- GTCNI to remove a teacher from the register if found guilty of misconduct;
- Individuals to make representations to GTCNI;
- GTCNI to issue a notice of its decisions; and
- The right of appeal to the High Court if a teacher is removed from the register.
Our responsibility is to ensure that a teacher is suitable to be a member of the teaching profession in Northern Ireland.
Information for Teachers
We recognise that the vast majority of teachers are committed to maintaining the highest standards of professional ethics and conduct. However, in circumstances where a registered teacher’s conduct falls short of these standards and is dismissed by their employer, GTCNI will investigate and, if necessary, remove them from the Register. In this way, the teaching profession continues to enjoy public confidence, which underpins the status of the teaching profession.
If you receive any communication from us about regulation or have any questions please contact a member of the Regulation Team who will be able to provide guidance and advice in strict confidence.
Regulation Guidance for Employers
The employer (or employing authority), e.g. the school, is 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 may have been had they not resigned, on the grounds of misconduct and to provide us with the information we need to carry out an investigation or any subsequent conduct hearing. This includes allegations involving substitute teachers and teachers on short term contracts.
If you have any questions about regulation or what you need to do as an employer please contact a member of the Regulation Team who will be able to provide guidance and advice in strict confidence.
Making a complaint about a teacher
Our role is very different from that of an employer and it is important to recognise that GTCNI is not a complaints body. We are a professional body and any allegation that relates to misconduct, or conviction of a relevant offence, received by the Council will only be considered, investigated and heard, in the public interest and in the interests of the teaching profession.
If you decide to make a complaint to GTCNI you need to understand that the threshold for removing a teacher from the GTCNI Register of Teachers is high and that we can only consider a complaint if the same issue has been dealt with by the employer and a teacher has been dismissed on the grounds of misconduct and/or conviction of a relevant offence, or may have been had they not resigned.
If you have any questions about regulation please contact a member of the Regulation Team who will be able to provide guidance and advice in strict confidence.
As the statutory professional regulatory body for teachers in Northern Ireland, we are committed to respecting and protecting the information we collect, hold and use. The information we hold is required to enable us to carry out our statutory duty to register and regulate the teaching profession in Northern Ireland. For more information please see our Privacy Notice.
We will not disclose personal information to anyone except where required by law to fulfil our statutory duty.
All discussions with members of our the Regulation Team are confidential and if you wish to discuss the details of your case with a Case Officer please ensure you have your TR number and other personal information so that we can verify identity. If you wish to authorise a representative, for example a trade union representative, to discuss your case with us please complete the authorisation form in the Guidance for Teachers.