We all put our trust in the education system in Wales and those who work in it at some point in our lives. This will invariably be as a learner but it is also likely to be a parent, guardian or carer.
We put our trust in school staff for six or seven hours a day, five days a week. It is therefore reasonable for us to know a bit about the people who work in our schools. Do they have the necessary qualifications, is their conduct and performance good enough?
In Wales, anybody working as a teacher or in a learning support role in a maintained school or further education college must be registered with the Education Workforce Council (EWC). The same also applies to work based learning practitioners and qualified youth and youth support workers. In fact the EWC’s Register of Education Practitioners in Wales is the biggest public Register of any profession in Wales and the widest of its type in the world.
One of the requirements of our 80,000+ registrants is that they must comply with the Code of Professional Conduct and Practice. The Code sets out the standards expected of them and is intended to help and guide their behaviours and judgements, both inside and outside of work. However, the Code also has an important role for the public as it outlines what they can expect of anybody working in a teaching and learning role in Wales.
Codes of conduct and practice are common in other professions. Doctors, nurses, dentists, physiotherapists, solicitors, social workers and a host of others all have them. If you have never looked at them, you really should. Go on the web and take a look. It may make you think next time you go to see your GP or use a solicitor to help you sell your house.
The EWC regulates in the interests of the public. Any registrant that fails to comply with the Code can be investigated by the EWC, as we have legal powers to investigate and hear cases of alleged unacceptable professional conduct, serious professional incompetence and criminal offences involving our registrants. The number of cases we deal with is small, but you may have read press headlines about our work like “Headteacher stole thousands of pounds from school”, “Teacher changed pupils’ marks” and “Teaching assistant struck young pupil”. For the governors, such cases are of course very serious.
We would really like to hear the views of governors on what should be included in the Code. You can respond on our website , where you will also find more information. We would like to hear from as many people as possible. Alternatively, we would be happy to discuss the Code with you further, making a presentation at your school or governors’ meeting. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 029 20460 099 to arrange this.
We look forward to hearing from you!