Code of Conduct for Staff

Redhill Primary Academy - Overarching Code of Conduct for Staff

Introduction

This document outlines the school’s expectation in relation to employee conduct and outlines the school’s responsibility to the employee. This document mainly refers conduct expected in the work place but may also cover conducted when representing the school e.g. whilst at training, attending work related functions or activities on social media that may affect the reputation of the school.

It should also be used in conjunction with other relevant policies and standards such as professional standards, child protection and safeguarding policies, behaviour policy, contract of employment/written statement of particulars, to name but a few.

Given the nature of this establishment, this document should also be a guide to assist in ensuring children’s and employees safety. It therefore explains the responsibilities the school has toward employees and children/pupils.

This code should be reviewed regularly by governors and reissued to staff after the review.

Duty of Care

This school has a duty of care to the pupils/children within it and also to all its employees. This duty should be at the heart of all employee and employer practice.

Pupils/children – employees within this school have a duty to keep pupils/children safe and to protect them from harm. Given the position of trust this places employees in, employees are expected to take reasonable steps to ensure pupils/children’s safety and well-being. Please refer to the Safeguarding Policy

Employees – employers should provide a safe working environment and appropriate guidance regarding safer working practices. They should also ensure that employees are treated fairly and reasonably in all circumstances. Employees will be informed of all relevant policies as part of their induction. Where a new or revised policy is adopted, the school will ensure each employee has access to it.

In addition, each employee has a personal duty to take care of themselves and anyone else who may be affected by their actions or failings.

Employees should:

  • Understand the responsibilities of their role and the sanctions should these not be followed.
  • Act and be seen to act in the pupil’s/child’s best interest.
  • Act in a way to protect the school’s reputation.
  • Avoid conduct which could lead the school to question motivation and intentions.
  • Act in line with school policy and procedure.
  • Take responsibility for the learning environment in the classroom and beyond, keeping it tidy and clutter free at all times.
  • Take responsibility for their own actions and behaviour.
  • Speak up promptly about any concerns they have.
  • Seek to develop positive relationships with pupils, colleagues, parents and school management that are characterised by professional integrity and judgement.
  • Have due regard that safeguarding children and their welfare is paramount and everyone’s business.
  • All school staff should make the Headteacher aware of any relationships and associations both within and outside of the workplace (including online) that may have implications for the safeguarding of children in school.
  • Note that unjustifiable delay in reporting concerns is not acceptable.
  • Act with Integrity - Honesty, reliability and moral action are embodied in integrity. Teachers exercise integrity through their professional commitments, responsibilities and actions. As set out in Part Two of the Teachers’ Standards: Personal and Professional Conduct Part A
  • Act with Care - teachers’ practice is motivated by the best interests of pupils entrusted to their care. Teachers show this through positive influence, professional judgement and empathy in practice. As set out in Part Two of the Teachers’ Standards: Personal and Professional Conduct Part A
  • Act with Respect – Teachers uphold human dignity and promote equality and emotional and cognitive development. In their professional practice, teachers demonstrate respect for spiritual and cultural values, diversity, social justice, freedom, democracy and the environment. As set out in Part Two of the Teachers’ Standards: Personal and Professional Conduct Part A
  • Act with Trust – teachers’ relationship with pupil, colleagues, parents, school management and the public are based on trust. Trust embodies fairness, openness and honesty. As set out in Part Two of the Teachers’ Standards: Personal and Professional Conduct Part A

Employers should:

  • Clarify what is expected about an employee at work and where relevant, outside of work.
  • Provide a safe and healthy working environment.
  • Support for employees rights and recognise diversity.
  • Foster a culture of openness and support.
  • Ensure that appropriate policies are adopted, implemented, monitored and reviewed e.g. employee policies, safeguarding, child protection, code of conduct.
  • Ensure that employees have access to and understand guidance, related policies and systems that are in place.
  • Ensure that employees are not placed in a vulnerable position.
  • Ensure that those who provide services or activities are aware of safeguarding policies and procedures.
  • Treat employees reasonably and fairly.

Complaints

Should an employee have a concern with the way in which they are being treated by their employer, the Grievance Process should be followed. Advice should be sought by the employee from their relevant trade union.

Should an employee have a complaint relating to the School then they should use the relevant policy e.g. Speak Up, Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy or school’s Complaints policy.

Should the employer have concerns regarding employee conduct, the employer should always try to resolve the matter at the lowest possible level i.e. through discussion with the employee. For more serious matters, the school may need to refer to the relevant employment policy e.g. discipline.

Employee Code of Conduct

This code covers a number of situations but does not cover all eventualities. Where it is necessary to refer to a specific school policy, this will be noted.

As stated in the introduction, a ‘Professional Code of Conduct’ is also provided as part of an employee’s written statement of particulars which should be adhered to and used in conjunction with this document. The document produced by the Government Offices for the English Regions- Guidance for Safer Working Practice for Adults who work with Children and Young People in education 2019 is universally regarded as a best practice guide to work alongside local policies.

Dress and Appearance

All employees should dress in a manner that is appropriate for their role, individuals they work with and the work they undertake.

Clothing and appearance should not:

  • cause embarrassment or give rise to any misunderstanding
  • be likely to be viewed as offensive, revealing or sexually provocative
  • be considered to be discriminatory or culturally sensitive
  • be political or represent contentious slogans
  • all tattoos must be covered and no extreme hairstyles, jewellery including piercings must be discrete

Behaviour

All employees have a responsibility to maintain public confidence in both the school and their own ability to provide an outstanding level of education and care whilst safeguarding the welfare and best interest of the pupils/children they are responsible for.

Equally, all employees should be able to carry out their duties in an environment where all individuals treat each other fairly and with respect and dignity. Acts of discrimination, harassment or bullying, intentional or otherwise, will not be tolerated.

Employees should foster an approach which is aligned to the ethos of the school and understand the school’s Behaviour Policy. Therefore, employees can expect to be treated reasonably and fairly.

It is not acceptable to behave in a manner which could question an employee’s suitability to work with pupils/children or encourage others to make unprofessional comments or comments which could cause offense.

This level of behaviour is to be expected at all times when representing the school which includes attending such events as training and work related social functions.

With the rise of social media, it is not acceptable for employees to behave in such a way that would not uphold public confidence within the school. Please refer to the school’s Child Protection & Safeguarding in Schools Policies.

Confidentiality and Data Protection

Employees can expect to have their personal information secured confidentially. Personal matters should also be kept in the strictest of confidence.

Employees within the School may have access to private or sensitive information about the pupils/children who attend the school. These details must be kept confidential and only shared when it is in the child’s best interest to do so. This school is committed to protecting the privacy of individuals and handles all personal information in a manner that complies with the Data Protection Act 2018. It is the personal responsibility of all employees (temporary or permanent), Governors, contractors, agents and anyone else processing information on our behalf to comply with this policy.  Storage of any such information should be in line with the Data Protection Act 2018.

Any deliberate breach of this policy could amount to a criminal offence under one or more pieces of legislation, for example the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and the Data Protection Act 2018. All breaches will be investigated and appropriate action taken. 

Employees should report any concerns about confidentiality to a senior member of the School. 

Gifts

Employees should not receive or accept gifts, loan, fees, hospitality or other reward which influences the way in which duties are carries out. 

For transparency if an employee is given low level “thank you” gifts from parents or children e.g. homemade gifts, flowers, chocolates, biscuits etc. then they should let the school know. In all cases a professional judgement should be made around what is acceptable, proportionate and appropriate. If in doubt the employee should seek guidance from the Headteacher of the school. 

Employees have a responsibility to report any such reward or suspicions of any such awards to the appropriate person within the school. 

Use of Internet and Social Media

The use of the internet and social media in the work place can be very useful but also can be open to misuse. Employees must take every step to protect themselves when using such ‘media’ and must refer to the Social Media Policy that is contained within the School Child Protection & Safeguarding in School Policies.

Employees must also be careful when using social media personally to ensure that no activity relates negatively on the school’s reputation. Should such information be brought to the school’s attention, the disciplinary process may be followed.

Whistle Blowing – Speak Up

If you have any concerns that there may be a breach of a code of conduct, it is important that you speak up. Speaking up early helps to protect you, makes investigations easier and could protect the School reputation. Please refer to the Speak Up Policy.

Raising Concerns – Safeguarding

All schools have a standalone Child Protection and Safeguarding in Schools Policies with appropriate appendices. For avoidance of doubt, all school staff need to be aware and implement the principles of its content.

It is important to note that these policies supplement and work within the overarching Telford & Wrekin Local Safeguarding Partnership procedures, for avoidance of doubt, these can be viewed at www.telfordsafeguardingboard.org.uk. These policies are pivotal to all areas safeguarding and any actions that may be considered, taken and expected of those that work and interact with children.

It also acknowledged that Working Together 2018 and Keeping Children Safe in Education 2019 Parts 1-5 are viewed on the same principle. 

The highest standards of safeguarding conduct are expected from the whole school community. It is important to note that in particular well known and peripheral areas of safeguarding concern should be paramount to a child’s welfare namely;

  • Four Defined Categories of Abuse - Sexual, Emotional, Physical and Neglect as defined in Working Together 2018
  • Extremism & Radicalisation (Statutory - Prevent duty guidance March 2015)

Furthermore staff are expected to encourage pupils to respect the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. Staff should ensure that partisan political views are not promoted in the teaching of any subject in the school and where political issues are brought to the attention of pupils, reasonably practicable steps have been taken to offer a balanced presentation of opposing views to pupils.

Further areas (amongst others) for all staff to note:

  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) - Multi Agency Practice Guidelines HM Government 2014 – There is a specific legal duty on teacher, who, in the course of their work in the profession, discovers that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl under the age of 18, the teacher must report this to the police.
  • Children That Have Gone Missing (T&W Missing Children Process 2016).
  • Forced Marriage - “Handing Cases of Forced Marriage” Multi Agency Practice Guidelines HM Government June 2009. 
  • Children Missing From Education - Whether Authorised or Not.
  • Poor/Irregular Attendance (Protocol for Identifying and Maintaining Contact with Children Not Receiving Education).
  • Children Abused Through Exploitation (CATE) -T&W Pathway Process.
  • Domestic Violence and Serious Harm.
  • Drug and Substance Misuse.
  • Suicide Intervention.
  • Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment between children in schools.
  • Fabricated and Induced Illness.
  • Youth Violence, Gang Activity and County Lines.

School Child Protection and Safeguarding Policies will take account of all these issues and other areas and therefore, staff conduct in addressing any safeguarding concerns is paramount and doing nothing is not an option.

Conflicts of Interest

Employees must be mindful to avoid personal circumstances which could lead to conflict of interest and should discuss/report any potential conflicts of interest with the Headteacher as soon as possible.

Health & Safety

The School will endeavour to abide by Health and Safety legislation to ensure the safety and well-being of employees at work.

Employees are expected to follow appropriate Health and Safety guidance to keep themselves and others safe at work. Employees also have their own duty of care to take care of themselves and anyone else affected by their actions or failings.