'Test and retest' Teachers Council privacy rules, media urged

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

The Early Childhood Council is urging journalists to "test and retest" the Teachers Council Disciplinary Tribunal rules around privacy.

The Teachers Council is reviewing its rules after Parliament's Regulation Review Committe found they were outside the provision of the Education Act.

The council's Disciplinary Tribunal almost always suppresses teachers' names. Barrister Graeme Edgeler and the Herald on Sunday complained about the strict rules, prompting the review committee's ruling.

Early Childhood Council chief executive Peter Reynolds said he had no faith in the council conducting its own review - the Government should legislate instead to ensure "dodgy and dangerous" teachers were outed.

Reynolds said if there was ever a job for news media in early childhood education, this was it.

"I hope journalists test and re-test the new system to ensure there is real change. And I hope, next time a teacher does something to hurt children, they ask: 'Did the Teachers Council know something about this teacher they suppressed? And if so, what did they know, and for how long?'"

Reynolds said name suppression might still be appropriate in some cases.

He said a new law should make disciplinary proceedings open to the public unless there was a very compelling reason for it to be closed.

- Herald on Sunday

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