Assessing a concern
When we receive a report or complaint about a teacher, we must assess what the issue is and what the appropriate next steps should be.
When a mandatory report, notification of a criminal conviction or a complaint comes in, our Triage Committee makes an initial assessment.
The teacher involved will be invited to respond to any allegations to help inform the Triage Committee’s assessment of appropriate next steps.
The Triage Committee is made up of Council staff, including experienced, registered teachers. There is an emphasis on ensuring appropriate tikanga Māori is followed and te ao Māori perspective is included.
The Triage Committee can decide to:
- Take no further action, for example if no real conduct or competence issue is raised or is unlikely to require a disciplinary response
- Refer the issue to the teacher's employer
- Refer the issue to the Complaints Assessment Committee, if it’s about a teacher’s conduct
- Refer the issue to a Professional Practice Evaluator, if it’s about a teacher’s competence
- Refer the issue to the Teaching Council Governing members, for example where cancellation of the teacher will be necessary following their conviction of a very serious ‘specified offence’ (listed in the Children’s Act).
Interim measures to deal with immediate risks
If the Triage Committee has immediate concerns about the safety of children and young people and the reputation of the teaching profession, it can seek a voluntary agreement with the teacher to stop teaching until the matter has been fully investigated and resolved.
This is called an 'undertaking not to teach' and appears as an annotation beside the teacher's name in the Register of New Zealand Registered Teachers.
If the teacher refuses to agree, the Council may request the Complaints Assessment Committee consider applying to the Disciplinary Tribunal for an interim suspension of the teacher’s practising certificate.