Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

Accused teachers can be named under new rules

Children aged under 16 will not be able to be named under the new rules. Photo / Thinkstock
Children aged under 16 will not be able to be named under the new rules. Photo / Thinkstock

Teachers accused of misconduct can be named and disciplinary tribunal hearings will be open to the public under new Teachers Council rules.

The move comes after heavy criticism of the disciplinary tribunal's closed hearings, particularly around the blanket name suppression rules.

Last year, Parliament's regulations review committee found the tribunal's name suppression practice was not in line with the Education Act, which clearly intended proceedings to be generally open to the public.

Teachers Council director Peter Lind today announced the changes to the disciplinary tribunal rules would come into effect from July 1.

Tribunal hearings will be open to the public and news media from then. There will also be a presumption that teachers' names would be included in tribunal decisions.

Dr Lind said to protect young victims, the tribunal chair could still use discretion to close parts of the proceedings, order name suppression, or both.

Children aged under 16 will not be able to be named under the new rules.

"Open proceedings will help assure the public and the teaching profession that our disciplinary processes are rigorous and the decisions well-reasoned and robust," Dr Lind 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."

- APNZ

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