16 Aug 2013

Teachers' groups support end of automatic name suppression

12:03 pm on 16 August 2013

Groups representing secondary teachers and principals are supporting a select committee's call for an end to automatic name suppression for teachers guilty of serious misconduct.

Parliament's Regulations Review Select Committee is recommending the Teachers Council change its rules so its disciplinary hearings are open to the public.

The 20 to 30 cases of serious misconduct heard each year are entirely secret unless the Teachers Council's disciplinary tribunal decides otherwise.

In practice, the tribunal does publish its decisions, but without identifying any of the people or schools involved.

Now, the select committee says the hearings should be open unless the tribunal makes an order to the contrary.

President of the Post Primary Teachers Association Angela Roberts says teachers should be named in most cases where they are guilty of misconduct.

"We're quite comfortable with lifting the automatic suppression as long as there's still that mechanism that enables suppression when appropriate. Because this is about protecting victims.

"Anonymity in small communities, for example, is really difficult when you name a teacher."

President of the Secondary Principals Association Tom Parsons says the change is overdue.

"We have to be open and transparent and were the Teachers Council to have some teeth to enforce embargoes, or any name suppression, then that would be fine."

The Teachers Council will consider the recommendation later this month.