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Teacher disciplinary hearings to be open to public

Teacher disciplinary hearings to be open to public

Disciplinary hearings for teachers charged with serious misconduct, previously held in closed sessions, will be open to the public and news media from 1 July this year, the New Zealand Teachers Council director, Dr Peter Lind announced today.

Dr Lind said the Council had changed the rules for its Disciplinary Tribunal so that as well as the hearings being open to the public there would be a presumption that the names of teachers would be included in decisions published by the Tribunal.

“Open proceedings will help assure the public and the teaching profession that our disciplinary processes are rigorous and the decisions well-reasoned and robust,” he said.

“We do make offending teachers accountable for their actions and the Tribunal’s work helps make schools and early childhood learning centres safer for everyone’s children. Making the disciplinary proceedings more transparent will mean people can see that happening more easily.

Dr Lind said that protecting young victims in the context of Tribunal hearings might mean that sometimes the Tribunal chair might use the discretion available to close parts of the proceedings and/or order names suppression. Also, the new rules stipulate that children under the age of 16 will not be able to be named.

The first hearings to be conducted under the new regime will be in July.

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