Teaching Regulation Agency Lawyers
Clifford Johnston & Co. solicitors has a team of Teaching Regulation Agency Lawyers with the knowledge and expertise to defend you in disciplinary investigations and proceedings before the Teachers Regulation Agency (TRA). We are based in Stockport and Manchester, with clients across the UK. We can, therefore, assist you wherever you are based.
In April 2018, the TRA took over the responsibility of the regulation and discipline of teachers from the National College for Teaching and Leadership.
The TRA has responsibility for the regulation of the teaching profession, including misconduct hearings. They act on receipt of allegations of serious teacher misconduct, and support employers, schools and head teachers with safeguarding responsibilities.
The TRA should only be involved in the most serious cases of misconduct, to decide whether a teacher should be prohibited from teaching work. Other matters, including all cases of incompetence, should be dealt with locally. They investigate cases of serious misconduct and then decide whether to refer a case to the ‘Professional Conduct Panel’.
Allegations of misconduct can have a profound impact and life-changing consequences on a teacher’s career, reputation, and personal life. We have the knowledge and skills to help you. We are well equipped to defend your rights. We will guide you through each stage of the process and discuss your options, defence strategy and advise you on the possible outcomes. Whatever the allegation, it is vital that you obtain expert legal advice from a specialist Teaching Regulation Agency Solicitor.
Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) Investigation Stage
If the TRA decides to carry out an investigation, it will send you the allegations and inform you that you have 28 days to provide a response. This a very important stage of the process. We often find that teachers do not seek legal advice until their case has been referred to the Professional Conduct Panel. This reduces the time that your lawyer has to properly prepare and defend your case. It is rarely a good idea to delay obtaining legal advice. Please note that a referral may also be made the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for example.
The TRA usually instructs an external firm of solicitors to conduct the investigations on their behalf. It is vital that you are represented by a firm of specialist lawyers that, at the very least, match those working against you.
When the TRA has completed its investigation, it will decide whether there is a case to answer and, if so, refer your case to a professional conduct panel hearing. The TRA should send you a letter notifying you of their decision within five working days.
If your case has been referred to a professional conduct panel, you will be given 14 days from the date of service of the case to answer letter to confirm in writing whether you admit the alleged facts and, if so, whether you accept that they amount to unacceptable professional conduct and/or conduct that may bring the teaching profession into disrepute.
Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) Interim Prohibition Order
An Interim Prohibition Order could be imposed upon you very quickly and, therefore, you should seek immediate legal advice.
The TRA, within 3 days of receiving a referral about you, will decide whether to consider making an IPO to prevent you from carrying out teaching work until your case has concluded.
An IPO can also be made at any stage and without the need for a formal misconduct hearing.
You will be informed in writing if the TRA is considering imposing an IPO and you will be given 10 working days to respond. The TRA will then review all the evidence and your response, if you decide to submit one, and make a decision within 5 working days.
If an IPO is imposed upon you, your name will be added to the list of prohibited teachers kept by the TRA.
You do not have a right of appeal to the imposition of an IPO albeit you can ask for it to be reviewed.
Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) 'Agreed Statement of Facts'
If you admit the allegations and accept that they amount to unacceptable professional conduct and/or conduct that may bring the teaching profession into disrepute, the TRA will send you a draft statement of facts and invite you to agree to it. This is usually done within four weeks of receipt of your response to the case to answer letter. You will then be given three weeks to confirm in writing which facts you agree.
Professional Conduct Panel
The ‘Professional Conduct Panel’ is responsible for hearing allegations of serious misconduct against teachers and they can recommend that teachers be made subject to a ‘Prohibition Order’. The panel will consist of three people and at least one member will be a teacher, or was a teacher in the five years immediately prior to the date the person was appointed as suitable to be a member of a panel.
After considering all the evidence put before it, a ‘Professional Conduct Panel’ must make three decisions, in the order shown below. If a panel decides that ‘no’ is the answer to any of these questions, it will not need to proceed to the next question. A panel may answer ‘yes’ to (i) and (ii) and still decide that it is not appropriate to recommend a ‘Prohibition Order’.
- (i) Is the panel satisfied that the facts of the case have been proved?
- (ii) Has there been: a) “unacceptable professional conduct”; b) “conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute”; or c) “conviction, at any time of a relevant offence”?
- (iii) Is a prohibition order appropriate?
Following its consideration of all the evidence presented, a panel will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State as to whether a ‘Prohibition Order’ should be made in respect of the teacher.
Once a senior official from the TRA has received a recommendation on prohibition from a panel they will, within two working days wherever possible, decide whether to impose a ‘Prohibition Order.
Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) Prohibition Order
The Secretary of State has the power to impose an ‘Interim Prohibition Order’ if he considers that it is necessary in the public interest to do so. This will apply in cases where there has been a particularly serious allegation and a judgement is made that the teacher should not teach while an investigation is undertaken.
A ‘Prohibition Order’ prevents a teacher from undertaking unsupervised teaching work in schools or other settings. Where an individual is prohibited, their details will appear on the Prohibited List.
A ‘Prohibition Order’ is a lifetime ban. However, in some circumstances, a teacher may be allowed to apply to have the ‘Prohibition Order’ reviewed.
Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) Appeals
A teacher may appeal against a ‘Prohibition Order (though not an interim prohibition order) to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court within 28 calendar days from the date a notice of the order was served on them.
If you have been made subject to a ‘Prohibition Order’ and wish to appeal, you should contact our Lawyers for teachers.
How can we help?
Throughout a TRA investigation, our experienced solicitors for teachers will provide you with specialist legal representation. We understand the stress and anxiety that a TRA investigation causes and the far-reaching consequences for your career and personal life.
We provide clear and straight-forward advice to ensure that you have a full and comprehensive understanding of your situation. We provide a bespoke service tailored to the individual circumstances of your case. We will work closely with you, taking a proactive approach, to secure the best possible outcome.
We can assist you at each stage of the investigation and subsequent proceedings and we will work tirelessly to protect your career and livelihood:
- Preparing and drafting a written response during the initial investigation stage
- Collating evidence during the initial investigation stage
- Preparing written representations and evidence against the imposition of an interim Prohibition Order
- Preparing a response to the notice of referral
- Negotiating the statement of agreed facts and the management of the case
- Representation at Hearings before the Professional Conduct Panel
- Advising on appeals against decisions
- Applying for the removal of a Prohibition Order
In addition to the above, we are uniquely placed to represent you at the police station or before the Criminal Courts should you be accused or charged with a criminal offence.
Why choose us?
We have the relevant expertise and experience to robustly defend you when your suitability to be a teacher is called into question.
Although based in Manchester and Stockport, we represent teachers across the UK. We are also instructed by one of the major trade unions to represent their members.
Contact our Solicitors for Teachers today for a free consultation