Prohibition from Teaching

Defining what prohibition means is not as simple as it should be.  There are two elements to consider:

Which institutions are covered by the prohibition?

The regulations say these are “schools, sixth form colleges, relevant youth accommodation”, 16-19 Academies and childrens’ homes”.  Note that you are not prohibited from home tutoring.  Whether a tutoring centre is a school is a grey area.

The prohibition applies to England only.  Although it does not apply to other jurisdictions, the relevant regulator, such as the General Teaching Council in Scotland or Education Workforce Council in Wales, is unlikely to allow you to register.

What activities are covered by the prohibition? 

The simple answer is “Teaching” which is defined in the regulations as: “planning and preparing lessons and courses for pupils; delivering lessons to pupils; assessing the development, progress and attainment of pupils; and reporting on the development, progress and attainment of pupils.”

That covers the vast majority of what people employed as teachers in school do.  However, there may be roles within a school environment that involve none of these activities such as mentoring teachers.

The picture is further complicated by regulation 3(3) which sets out: “The activities specified in paragraph (1) are not teaching work for the purposes of these Regulations if the person carrying out the activity does so (other than for the purposes of induction) subject to the direction and supervision of a qualified teacher or other person nominated by the head teacher to provide such direction and supervision.”  

So a person prohibited for teaching can nonetheless teach provided they are subject to the direction and supervision of a qualified teacher.  What that means in practice is untested in the courts.  It is our view that it does not allow a prohibited teacher to carry on as they were because their work is (like all teachers) subject to direction and supervision via the school’s line management systems.  Such an interpretation renders the regulation of the profession null and void.  However, just how close the direction and supervision need be is a matter for the individual employer.  We know employers who have sought guidance from the TRA have simply been referred to the Regulations.

In broad terms it seems clear that you should not take up a full-time teaching role.  At one end of the spectrum we consider you could work in a classroom as a teaching assistant and at the other end it may mean you can work as a consultant, providing your employer is satisfied that adequate direction/supervision is in place.

Disclosure of the prohibition

Whatever employment you seek, you need to be aware of the consequences of any failure to declare your prohibition.  Many employers specifically ask about previous disciplinary and regulatory processes and if you do not tell the whole truth then you are likely to be in fundamental breach of contract and liable to summary dismissal as soon as it is discovered.  There is a public record of your prohibition which will show up on any internet search, so our advice is that honesty and openness is always best, even if the question is not asked, as it demonstrates some degree of courage and integrity.

We also suggest that you show this guidance to any employer considering engaging you.  Remember that, although the prohibition may not stop you working from a legal perspective, no-one is obliged to employ you and the fact of your prohibition may be deemed an unacceptable reputational risk notwithstanding the skills you possess.

Lifting the prohibition

Please note that you are not automatically restored to the teaching workforce after the prohibition period ends.  You must reapply to set aside the order using a specific form.

This application will require you to provide your employment history since prohibition, hopefully demonstrating how you have kept in touch with education practice, and include three referees and references.  You should include a written piece of reflection on how you now view your misconduct and why there is no risk of repetition.  We are happy to assist you with this.