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Conduct & Competence Overview

Managing concerns about a teachers’ conduct or competence is one of the important roles we play. Here we explain the different processes for handling these issues, including our role in the process, the role and powers of the various assessors and decision-making bodies, and the rights of teachers.

Concerns about teacher conduct or competence come to the Education Council’s attention in different ways, including through mandatory reports from schools and early childhood centres, reports that a teacher has a criminal conviction, and complaints from parents or others. For more information, including about when a school or centre must make a mandatory report to us about a teacher, click here.

Issues of conduct or competence go through different processes. When we first get a report or complaint about a teacher, our Triage Committee does an initial assessment of the type of issue it might be and what the appropriate process and next step should be. To read about this initial assessment process, click here.

Concerns about a teacher’s conduct can be referred to the Council’s Complaints Assessment Committee (CAC)—to read about this conduct process, click here. The CAC can, in turn, refer cases on to the New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal. In fact, it must do this if there may have been serious misconduct. For information about the Tribunal and its processes, click here.

Concerns about a teacher’s competence follow a different process, first involving an assessment by one of our Competence Evaluators. The teacher can be referred to the Competence Authority for it to take action such as imposing conditions, and in the most serious cases, the Authority may cancel the teacher’s registration, practising certificate and limited authority to teach. To read about the process for dealing with competence issues, click here.

Sometimes it may become clear that a health issue or other problem is affecting the teacher’s ability to teach, or their conduct. This is referred to as an “impairment”. In these cases there’s a special process for assessing how serious the problem is and what help the teacher might need in dealing with it. To read about the impairment process, click here.

The information on these pages is intended as a plain English summary of the processes for conduct and competence issues. For more detailed information, please read the Education Act 1989 (Part 32) and the Education Council Rules 2016.