Teachers could be barred over off-duty drinking

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The Independent Online

Teachers who get drunk on a Saturday night could be barred from the classroom under a code of conduct that the profession's disciplinary body, the General Teaching Council, is drafting.

The new code, due to come into force next year, aims to put more emphasis on a teacher's responsibility to act as a role model outside of school. The council's chief executive, Keith Bartley, said most teachers already practised high standards of behaviour outside school, but that it was "important that our processes reflect the dignity of teaching".

Whether a teacher faced disciplinary action over a breach of the code committed outside school hours would depend on the circumstances, the council's head of professional regulation, David Jones, said.

A decision to suspend or bar a teacher could hinge on their attitude towards their behaviour. The code states a teacher can be struck off over failing to follow child protection procedures; lax supervision on school trips; making inappropriate sexual comments; or engaging in inappropriate relationships with pupils – including by texting or writing to them.

The emphasis on promoting the rights and wellbeing of children follows concerns about professionals failing to recognise signs of child abuse in cases like that of Baby P.

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