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(Also known as Codes of Practice)






One might reasonably expect a code of practice to concern itself with:




Relationship with students





This might concern bullying, harassment and inappropriate behaviour; fair and inclusive treatment; provision of reliable and valid information regarding relevant practices & processes; competent transfer of knowledge & skills; academic and personal tutorial support.




Relationship with colleagues





This might concern sharing accurate information regarding procedures and processes; establishing a supportive and collaborative environment; respect for intellectual property.




Relationship with employing organisation





This might concern Quality Assured processes (relating to such matters as: timekeeping, record keeping, learning delivery, assessment practice, reporting, inclusion, differentiation, sustainability, etc.)


It should also be borne in mind that the relationship between tutor and organisation is two-way.  The tutor has a right to expect, amongst other things: appropriate and reliable information; efficient administrative support for themselves and their students; timely and adequate training.




Relationship with the Professional body, other National bodies and the public.





This might concern readiness to comply with reasonable requests relating to upholding the principles of the Code of Practice (and providing evidence of such).





It might also be reasonable to expect the Code to concern itself with “academic standards” (relating to competence, expertise and currency of subject specialism) as well as with “standards of teaching and learning” (relating to competence, expertise and currency of teaching practice and pedagogy.)






If the detail is too prescriptive then “codes of conduct” become not “guiding principles” but “sets of rules”.  As such, they would appear to detract from the concept of “professionalism”.


There is a temptation for regulation to become too detailed (particularly that set by employing bodies – who are rightly concerned with establishing credibility with accrediting and inspection agencies).  “Over fussy” regulation (often justified as part of the employing organisation’s QA processes) can become obtrusive.  It is the constant complaint of the FE tutor that there is too much “paperwork”.  This can sour the relationship between “tutors” and their “bosses”.  More importantly, it can have a knock on effect for the tutors’ self perception – causing them to view themselves not so much as conscientious practitioners but as mere cogs in a machine.  This does little to promote an ethos of “professionalism”.


An example might be the number of hours of CPD that tutors/trainers are expected to undertake in order to maintain their academic and pedagogic currency.  Whereas there can be no arguing with the fact that CPD is an essential constituent of ongoing professionalism, attempts to stipulate “how much” – especially in terms of “hours” – undermine the tutor’s professional judgement.  Anyone who has attended training events (of whatever kind in whatever context) will acknowledge that the number of hours’ attendance bears little relation to the quality and usefulness of the training.  Similarly, the amount of time spent in private research bears little relation to the usefulness of the results.  Any such attempts to quantify qualitative concepts will fall short – and once again will undermine the tutor’s professional judgement.


Hours and hours spent trawling through dry, academic tomes might yield little that is useful or usable.  On the other hand, a single hour reading a knowledgeable and incisive journal article could challenge and shape a lifetime of practice.






It has been suggested that one of the marks of professionalism is “self regulation” – but what is meant by that?


It could be argued that colleges & training organisations are ideally placed to ensure that their employees adhere to the appropriate Code of Conduct.  However, where there were instances of dispute this would place them in an untenable position.


Whereas it can be argued that individual teachers are capable of demonstrating professionalism individually - many of them setting and upholding standards "above and beyond" what can reasonably be expected - it has to be acknowledged that not all teaching staff are as capable or as conscientious.  Hence, it is necessary to establish an independent professional body to be responsible for "self-regulation."


Such a body will earn the respect of the professionals it represents and regulates only if it can demonstrate that it truly does represent the interests of the profession as a whole and not merely those of their paymasters.  The regulatory body must also be seen as being constituted of practising professionals.  Once it is perceived to be "yet another bureaucratic organisation" administered by "suits", it will cease to be effective because it will lose credibility.








N.B. TDA was superseded by the Teaching Agency in 2012


The "Code of Conduct and Practice for Registered Teachers" developed by the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) states that registered teachers:





1. Put the wellbeing, development and progress of children and young people first.


2. Take responsibility for maintaining the quality of their teaching practice


3. Help children and young people to become confident and successful learners


4. Demonstrate respect for diversity and promote equality


5. Strive to establish productive partnerships with parents and carers


6. Work as part of a whole-school team


7. Co-operate with other professional colleagues


8. Demonstrate honesty and integrity and uphold public trust and confidence in the teaching profession




The resultant Code elaborated on these principles.








Click here for IfL Code of Professional Practice webpage

Click here for IfL Code of Practice (pdf)




The IfL Code of Conduct lists 7 "behaviours" expected of members.







The members shall:

1. meet their professional responsibilities consistent with the Institute’s Professional Values;

2. use reasonable professional judgement when discharging differing responsibilities and obligations to learners, colleagues, institution and the wider profession;

3. uphold the reputation of the profession by never unjustly or knowingly damaging the professional reputation of another or furthering their own position unfairly at the expense of another;

4. comply with all reasonable assessment and quality procedures and obligations;

5. uphold the standing and reputation of the Institute and not knowingly undermine or misrepresent its views nor their Institute membership, any qualification or professional status.





Behaviour 2: RESPECT


The members shall at all times:

1. respect the rights of learners and colleagues in accordance with relevant legislation and organisation requirements;

2. act in a manner which recognises diversity as an asset and does not discriminate in respect of race, gender, disability and/or learning difficulty, age, sexual orientation or religion and belief.







The members shall take reasonable care to ensure the safety and welfare of learners and comply with relevant statutory provisions to support their well-being and development.







The members shall provide evidence to the Institute that they have complied with the current Institute CPD policy and guidelines.







Any member shall notify the Institute as soon as practicable after cautioning or conviction for a criminal offence. The Institute reserves the right to act on such information through its disciplinary process.







A member shall use their best endeavours to assist in any investigation and shall not seek to dissuade, penalise or discourage a person from bringing a complaint against any member, interfere with or otherwise compromise due process.







The members shall at all times act in accordance with the Institute’s conditions of membership which will be subject to change from time to time.