Published on - 05-11-2018
1. Purpose and principles
This Code of Conduct aims to establish a set of principles which underpin the expected conduct of staff at Brighton Hill Community School with the intention of encouraging staff to achieve the highest standards of conduct at work and of minimising the risk of improper conduct occurring.
The school requires that all staff have read and comply with the Code of Conduct. Where clarification is needed on any aspect of this document, this should be sought from the Headteacher.
Breach or failure to observe the provisions of this document may lead to action being taken under the school disciplinary procedure which can be located on the T Drive Staff Disciplinary Procedure
This document is available to all staff to view in the staff room and electronically on the T:drive as well as being provided on induction to all new members of staff.
The Code of Conduct is not exhaustive in defining acceptable and unacceptable standards of conduct and behaviour and in circumstances where guidance does not exist individuals are expected to use their professional judgement and act in the best interests of the school and its students. Further advice can be sought from the Headteacher.
Once you have read this document, please print and sign the last page and return it to the Staffing & Business Leader.
The Code of Conduct applies to:
References to ‘staff’ throughout the Code of Conduct refer to all of the above groups.
Any links within this document to other documents are for ease of use and do not form part of this Code of Conduct.
The Code of Conduct exists in addition to Hampshire County Council’s Local Government Code of Conduct.
3. Professional standards at work
Staff are expected to demonstrate the highest possible standards of personal and professional conduct and behaviour and consistently act with honesty and integrity. The school expects staff to treat each other, students, parents and the wider school community with dignity and respect at all times.
Furthermore, staff must have regard for the ethos and values of the school as well as its policies and procedures and act in accordance with these at all times, including in their dealings with those who come into contact with the school e.g. visitors.
Staff must act in accordance with their duty of care to students and ensure that the safety and welfare of the children and young people at the school are accorded the highest priority. In this and other ways staff should always maintain standards of conduct and behaviour which sustain their professional standing and that of the school.
Teachers are reminded of, and are expected to uphold, their wider responsibilities as set out in the Teachers’ Standards, including an understanding of, and acting within, the statutory frameworks which set out their professional duties and responsibilities.
Brighton Hill Community School recognises its statutory and moral duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of students and understands that staff play a vital role in meeting these responsibilities. Staff must be aware of their individual safeguarding responsibilities, including to provide a safe environment in which children can learn, to be aware of the signs of abuse and neglect, to identify children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm and to take appropriate action in such cases to prevent concerns from escalating.
All members of staff must be aware of the school’s systems for supporting child safeguarding, including the role of the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL).
In this school the DSL(s) is: Guy Wilkinson (Assistant Headteacher)
Deputy DSLs are: Hilary Laney (PA to Headteacher) and Rachael Thomas (Parent Support Advisor)
Staff have a professional duty to report concerns about the welfare of a child. Any such concerns must be raised without delay to the school’s DSL or Deputy DSL in the first instance or to Headteacher if any of the DSL/Deputy DSLs cannot be located. In the event that none of the above are available please contact the main school number 01256 350606 or alternatively the Hampshire County Council’s safeguarding team on 01962 876364. There should be no delay in reporting a concern if there is risk of immediate serious harm to a child.
Staff are reminded of their duty to report safeguarding concerns about staff. Any concerns or allegations must be raised without delay to the school’s DSL in the first instance or to the Headteacher if the DSL cannot be located. If the concern is related to the Headteacher, the chair of governors should be contacted.
Staff should be familiar with the school’s child protection policy, which is available to all staff: 5a Child Protection Policy. All staff will receive appropriate child protection training and will be provided with guidance on child safeguarding as part of their induction to the school.
In accordance with the statutory guidance published by the Department for Education ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (2016) all staff in Brighton Hill Community School are required to read Part One ‘Safeguarding information for all staff’ and will be provided with a copy as part of their induction to the school. The full document is available via the above link or from www.gov.uk.
Further information is found in the guidance document ‘The avoidance of unnecessary contact and allegations’ and in ‘Guidance for safer working practice for those working with children and young people in education settings’ (September 2015) provided by the Safer Recruitment Consortium.
5. Appropriate relationships
Individuals who work or volunteer in a school environment are in a position of trust. Staff should be mindful of the need to maintain professional boundaries appropriate to their position and must always consider whether their actions are warranted, proportionate, safe and applied equitably.
Staff should act in an open and transparent way that would not lead any reasonable person to question their actions or intent. Staff should think carefully about their conduct so that misinterpretations are minimised.
Staff must avoid unnecessary physical contact with children. Where physical contact is essential, e.g. for safety reasons, the student’s permission must be gained for that contact wherever possible. If physical contact is made to remove a student from a dangerous situation or an object from a student to prevent either harm to themselves or others, then this should be recorded and reported to the DSL. In cases where accidental physical contact was made, it should be reported to the DSL or a deputy DSL. In all cases staff should act in accordance with the school’s Physical Intervention Policy located on the school’s T drive.
Any sexual behaviour by a member of staff with or towards a student is unacceptable. Staff are reminded that under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, it is a criminal offence for a person aged 18 or over to have a sexual relationship with a child under 18, where that person is in a position of trust in respect of that child, even if the relationship is consensual.
Staff are expected to interact with parents in a polite and respectful manner and recognise parents’ entitlement to express any concerns they may have about their child’s learning, safety or wellbeing. Staff should avoid discussing school matters with parents outside school if approached and should instead refer the parent to the normal school communication channels.
6. Use of IT including social media
Internal e-mail and internet systems must be used only in accordance with the school’s acceptable use of ICT and internet use policy which is located on the school’s T Drive.
Social networking sites offer the opportunity for communication with children, young people and their parents outside normal professional boundaries. School staff must take care to protect their privacy and protect themselves from risk of allegations in relation to inappropriate relationships and cyberbullying. Staff must not have any unauthorised contact or accept ‘friend’ requests through social media with any student (including former students and/or those who attend other schools) unless they are family members or over the age of 18. Staff must exercise caution when having contact online through social media with parents so as not to compromise the school’s reputation or school information.
Please refer to the school’s acceptable use of ICT policy on the school’s T Drive and Social Media policy on the school’s T Drive for further guidance on acceptable and unacceptable use of IT, social media and mobile phones.
7. Confidentiality and disclosure of information
Staff must ensure that they do not disclose confidential information to anyone who does not have the right to receive it. Where information is disclosed this should be in line with the principles of the General Data Protection Regulations. Equally staff should not prevent another person from gaining access to information to which that person is entitled by law. If there is doubt about whether or not to share information, advice must be sought from the ICT Network Manager, Data Manager or an appropriate member of the Senior Leadership Team.
Information obtained during the course of an individual’s work should never be used for personal gain or benefit, nor should it be passed onto others who might use it in such a way.
8. Dress and appearance
An individual’s dress and appearance is a matter of personal choice; however, staff should ensure that they dress appropriately, decently and safely for a school environment and for the role they undertake, as well as setting a good example to both students and visitors.
Staff should have particular regard to the health and safety risks involved with certain lessons i.e. physical education/food technology and the need to dress appropriately and safely when undertaking these activities, such as wearing appropriate footwear, removing jewellery etc.
The school recognises the diversity of cultures and religions of its staff and will take a sensitive approach when this affects dress and uniform requirements. However, priority will be given to health and safety, security and other similar considerations of other staff, students and the school.
Please refer to the policy number 39, the School Dress Code for further guidance on acceptable and unacceptable forms of dress which is located on the T Drive.
9. Equal opportunities
The Governing Body of the school is committed to equality for all in the appointment, development, training and promotion of staff, and in all dealings with students and parents of the school. It also recognises that all members of staff have the right to work in a safe environment without fear of discrimination, harassment or abuse.
All students, staff, parents, members of the public and wider school community have the right to be treated with fairness and equality and must not be discriminated against. The school expects staff to uphold these principles.
10. Conduct outside work
Care should be taken by staff to avoid any conflict of interest between activities undertaken outside school and responsibilities within school. In no case should outside activities bring the school into disrepute.
Staff must disclose any misconduct or alleged misconduct made against them, including any incidents arising from alternative or additional employment outside of this school. Disclosure must be made to the Headteacher without delay, after which consideration will be given to the relevance or otherwise of the misconduct to their role in the school.
Where staff are in doubt as to whether there is a conflict of interest advice must be sought from the Headteacher.
11. Declaration of interests
Staff should consider carefully whether they need to declare to the school any relationship with an individual where this might cause a conflict with the school’s activities, for example, a relationship with a Governor, another staff member or a contractor who provides services to the school. Where such a declaration is necessary this should be made to the Headteacher.
Staff may undertake work outside school, either paid or voluntary, provided it does not conflict with the interests of the school nor be at a level which may contravene the Working Time Regulations or affect an individual’s performance at work.
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (as amended) gives protection to people who disclose reasonable concerns about serious misconduct or malpractice at work. This is sometimes known as Whistleblowing. The Governing Body of the school will treat all matters of malpractice very seriously and allegations about such matters will be dealt with quickly and with appropriate confidentiality.
Staff should acknowledge their individual responsibilities in bringing matters of concern to the attention of senior leadership in the school. This is particularly important where the welfare of children may be at risk.
A clear procedure is provided for staff to raise issues with the purpose of assisting in reducing the risk of serious concerns being mishandled, whether by the individual or by the school. Please refer to the school’s Procedure for Protected Disclosures (“Whistleblowing”) for further information on the T Drive, Policy number 14.
13. Health and safety
Staff must adhere to the school’s Health and Safety policy and should ensure that they take every action to keep themselves and others in the school environment safe.
Please refer to the School’s Health and Safety policy for further information on the school’s T Drive.
14. Gifts and hospitality
There may be occasions where children or parents wish to pass small tokens of appreciation to staff, for example as an end of year ‘thank-you’, and this is acceptable. However, it is unacceptable to receive gifts on a regular basis or of any significant value or to suggest to students that gifts would be appropriate or desired. Money should never be accepted as a gift.
It is not acceptable for staff to give gifts to students and any rewards given to children must be given in agreement with the declared reward practice of the school located in the T drive – Behaviour management Policy, point 7.
Staff should not solicit or accept any gift, hospitality or other reward from external parties which influences the way in which they carry out their duties or leads the giver to expect preferential treatment.
15. Use of school resources and funds
The use of school resources, property and equipment is for school-related activities only, except where otherwise agreed.
All members of staff must use any public or school funds entrusted or handled by them in a responsible and lawful manner.
All policies can be located on the schools T drive for your guidance
Reviewed & Ratified: Sept 2018