I’ve been representing teachers before the NCTL, or National College for Teaching & Leadership, since its inception in 2013 (replacing the Teaching Agency).
Statistically, an astonishing 84% of all teachers who appear before a Professional Conduct Panel of the NCTL are struck off, meaning they are made the subject of a Prohibition Order and banned from the teaching profession. By comparison, 0% of the teachers represented at such hearings by my team have received a Prohibition Order to date.
Although these startling statistics highlight how important it is for any teacher facing NCTL proceedings to have expert legal representation, I think they also raise another important question: does the NCTL take advantage of unrepresented teachers?
When dealing with NCTL cases, I find that the evidence disclosed by the NCTL will routinely contain vast quantities of inadmissible and pejorative material, often wholly unrelated to the specific allegations under consideration. Where a teacher is unrepresented and not familiar with legal concepts such as admissibility and hearsay, does this material get admitted into evidence and unfairly prejudice the teacher’s position? Conversely, does the NCTL interview and include the evidence of witnesses who would undermine its case or exonerate the teacher? I suspect not, particularly having regard to the many applications to include or exclude relevant evidence which I have seen the NCTL fight.
If you are a teacher or other education professional in difficulty, please feel free to get in touch. My team and I have successfully defended teachers, lecturers and school governors at every stage of NCTL and related processes, including LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) and DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) investigations, Police interviews under caution, NCTL proposed Interim Prohibition Orders, submissions at NCTL formal investigation stage and representation at final NCTL Professional Conduct Panel hearings. Our experience includes:
- Defending a Housemaster from a leading public school in connection with allegations of substance misuse and sharing alcohol with pupils
- Defending an Art teacher alleged to have altered a pupil’s GCSE coursework
- Defending a primary school Headmaster charged with dishonesty in relation to school IT equipment and financing
- Defending a secondary school supply teacher alleged to have kicked and hit a disruptive pupil
- Defending an Assistant Headteacher from a special needs BESD school alleged to have behaved inappropriately towards colleagues and vulnerable pupils
- Defending a University lecturer accused of plagiarism in relation to a published academic work
- Defending the Head of Maths of a leading public school in connection with allegations of sexually motivated conduct towards pupils
- Defending a School Governor accused of a sexual relationship with a pupil
- Defending a primary school teacher accused of leaking SATS papers to pupils.
Successfully opposing the NCTL’s decision to impose an Interim Prohibition Order, thereby enabling the teacher to continue working until their case ultimately concluded (with no finding of unacceptable professional conduct) some two years later.
Successfully challenging the NCTL’s legal jurisdiction to pursue proceedings against a teacher who had not been engaged in teaching at the time of their alleged conduct.
Representing the Assistant Head of a leading public school throughout a three-year NCTL investigation and four-week NCTL Professional Conduct Panel hearing, which resulted in a finding that the teacher was not guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and/or conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute.