How we assess concerns
The initial assessment of a report or complaint
We do an initial assessment whenever we receive a mandatory report about a teacher from a school or early childhood centre, a report that a teacher has a criminal conviction, or a complaint about a teacher. The assessment is done by our Triage Committee. The Committee looks at the type of issue raised and decides on the appropriate process and steps.
How we deal with reports and complaints initially
The Triage Committee can decide to:
- refer the issue to our Complaints Assessment Committee (CAC), if it’s about conduct
- refer the issue to one of our Professional Practice Evaluators
- refer the issue to the Teaching Council for it to cancel the teacher’s registration if the teacher was convicted of one of the very serious criminal offences listed in the Vulnerable Children Act 2014—these offences (called “specified offences”) include a range of serious crimes mostly involving violence and sexual abuse
- refer the issue to the teacher’s employer for them to deal with.
The Triage Committee can also decide that no further action is needed—for example, if it thinks no real conduct or competence issue is raised, or the matter is unlikely to require a disciplinary response. In some cases a rehabilitative approach is taken, if there is no apparent risk to the safety of students.
Interim measures to deal with immediate risks
If our Triage Committee has immediate concerns about the safety of children, or the reputation of the teaching profession, it can ask the teacher to give a written undertaking not to teach while the issue is being dealt with.
If the teacher won’t agree to this, the Triage Committee can recommend to the Complaints Assessment Committee that the CAC apply to the New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal for an order temporarily suspending the teacher from teaching (interim suspension).