Code of Professional Conduct

The following is a list of actions already declared to be unprofessional but this is not exclusive. All actions which are alleged to be injurious to the interests of the profession or the professional honour of any member can be referred to the appropriate committee for adjudication:

a) for any teacher to take an appointment from which, in the judgement of the NUT Executive a member of the Union has been unjustly dismissed;
b) for any teacher to make a report on the work or conduct of another teacher without at the time acquainting the teacher concerned with the nature of it, if it be a verbal report, or without showing it, if it be written and allowing the teacher concerned to take a copy of it. [See footnotes (i) to (iv) below]
c) in any case of dispute between members of the NUT settled by arbitration under Rule 52 for any member not to abide by the decision;
d) for any teacher to censure other teachers or to criticise their work in the hearing of the pupils or other persons not directly involved in the running of the school;
e) for any teacher to seek to compel another teacher to perform outside the ordinary school hours any task which is not essentially connected with the ordinary work and organisation of the school;
f) for any teacher to impose upon another teacher, out of the ordinary school hours, an excessive and unreasonable amount of work of any kind.
g) for any teacher to discriminate, to harass or be guilty of discriminatory or offensive remarks by reference to the race, nationality, colour, ethnic origin, disability, gender or sexual orientation of others including, in particular, colleagues and pupils.

Footnotes: (i) Whilst primarily the word "teacher" in Article (b) of the Professional Conduct Code has been regarded as being applicable to serving teachers and those actively and professionally engaged in education, the committee reserves the right to examine references to it under the Professional Conduct Code concerning any member of the Union other than those professionally engaged in the service of education
(ii) When a report is made by a teacher on the work or conduct of another teacher, it should be shown to the teacher concerned before it is submitted, and the teacher allowed to take a copy of it.
(iii) Where a teacher gives the name of another teacher or member as a referee, he/she takes, in accordance with normal practice, a risk as to the nature and contents of the reference which the referee may give. Accordingly, any reference so given is not regard by the Executive as a report within the meaning of the above article.
(iv) Article (b) of the Code applies to all references other than those requested by the member of his/her own free choice, i.e. if an appointing authority or other body requires a reference from the applicant's present head, the head should show a copy of the reference to the applicant before it is submitted;
(v) Subject so far as the final decision is concerned to Appendix 6 of the Union Rules, cases arising under Article (g) of the Code will be dealt with in complete confidentiality provided that: (a) this is the wish of the complainant;
(b) that the complainant himself or herself maintains confidentiality.

NB: Members are reminded that all teaching staff in Suffolk are entitled to see their personal files, including the right to see any reference written on them.

Code of Ethics for NUT Members

1) All teachers should observe confidentiality in respect of any discussion with other individual teachers about their professional problems and difficulties;
2) If a teacher experiences any concern or dissatisfaction in relation to a colleague's conduct or standard of work the teacher should discuss the issue informally and in confidence with the colleague concerned.  Where the issue is not resolved informally the teacher should take no further action without informing the colleague.  Should the teacher have reason to believe that a colleague is acting in a way which might be harmful to the school or to individual pupils then there is a clear duty to make a report to the headteacher;
3) Teachers should not denigrate their colleagues in the present of third parties, nor should a teacher adversely criticise a colleague in the presence of others save in the context of appropriate procedures;
4) Effective consultation between teachers takes place in an atmosphere of mutual respect for the professional expertise and a recognition and understanding of those involved.  Teachers should be able to express freely their considered professional opinions while recognising the responsibilities borne by colleagues;
6) Teachers with responsibility for the organisation of the work of other colleagues should ensure that all members of the staff have knowledge and a clear understanding of the duties and responsibilities to which they are allocated and of the procedures and practices relevant to the day-to-day operation of the school;

7) Parents making complaints or allegations concerning teachers should be referred to the head teacher. The head teacher should take no action concerning the complaint or allegation until there has been consultation with the teacher concerned.
8) All members of staff should be able to make full use of staff facilities, including staff rooms and study rooms. It is reasonable, however, for the headteacher to respect the right of the staff to hold discussions in his or her absence if they so wish;
9) Teachers have access to confidential information which may be provided by any one of, or a combination of, a number of sources. Reports on children are received from parents, social workers, educational welfare officers, police, local authority officers, teachers, doctors and medical officers of health, and others.  Teachers must use their professional judgement regarding the confidentiality of such information, bearing in mind the requirements of the law and the best interests of the children.  The head teacher or a senior official of the LEA should be consulted before decisions are taken concerning the divulgence of confidential information;
10) While it is recognised that pupils will from time to time discuss their work and progress with teachers, particularly those teachers who undertake pastoral care, teachers should ensure that they maintain the delicate balance between taking a close interest in the welfare of pupils and the avoidance of entering into discussion about the conduct, competence or efficiency of other teachers.
11) Canvassing for the purposes of achieving an appointment, whether done directly or through an agent, is unethical;
12) The growth of a friendly relationship between teacher and pupil which is based on mutual respect and recognition of the role that each plays in the learning situation is desirable. It is, however, an abuse of this professional relationship for a teacher to:

  1. enter into an improper association with a pupil;
  2. show undue personal favour or disfavour towards a pupil;
  3. commit such acts against a child which are illegal; and
  4. endeavour to exert an undue influence with regard to personal attitudes, opinions or behaviour which are in no way connected with the work of the school.

13) No teacher should delegate to an unqualified person duties or functions requiring the knowledge and skill of a qualified teacher. This statement is not intended to restrict in any way:

  1. the proper training of teachers,
  2. the use and employment of instructors subject to Schedule 4 of the Education (Teachers) Regulations 1982;
  3. the reference to the professional staff of supporting services and
  4. the proper employment of ancillaries.

14) A teacher should not deliberately behave in such a way as to bring his or her school into disrepute.
15) A teacher should not behave in a racially discriminatory manner or make racist remarks directed towards or about ethnic minority groups or members thereof.

Published by the Suffolk Division of the National Union of Teachers