ACT teachers will have their first common code of practice. Photo: act\david.mclennan
ACT teachers will receive their first common Code of Practice - bringing them into line with professional codes across the legal and medical professions as well as teachers in other regions of the country.
The ACT Teacher Quality Institute has developed the Code of Professional Practice and Conduct for Teachers working across government, independent and Catholic schools. All teachers can expect to receive a copy of the one-page code in the mail in coming days along with their teacher registration cards.
The code stipulates that teachers must deal with students ''honourably, fairly and impartially'', that they must communicate appropriately with students, parents, carers and colleagues, and show consideration to other people with cultural, ethnic, religious and personal differences.
The code also calls for teachers to maintain their professional knowledge, practice and engagement, and to behave ''at all times lawfully, courteously and in ways that enhance the standing of the teaching profession''.
Education Minister Joy Burch said: ''This is not about any specific incidents or concerns - this is simply to provide clear guidance to teachers and reassurance for the community.''
She noted that all regulated professions had codes of conduct to provide explicit guidance to their members about the principles of best professional practice.
''In developing this code, the TQI [Teacher Quality Institute] has looked at the codes applying to other professionals such as doctors, lawyers and accountants, and similar codes for teachers in other jurisdictions and overseas,'' Mrs Burch said.
''This code raises the bar another notch by providing a common statement for each teacher that recognises the inherent importance of teaching to the community.''
Teacher Quality Institute chief executive Anne Ellis said failure by a teacher to follow this new overarching code of practice could result in their registration being revoked, which would prevent them working as a teacher anywhere in Australia.
''If they were breaking the code of practice they would already be breaking their employer's code,'' Ms Ellis said.
''But this does help provide all teachers with the knowledge that we do have a regulatory responsibility and that it is enforceable.''
The code has been embraced by the Australian Education Union, which said it helped to raise the community recognition and esteem of the profession.