In Wales, anybody working as a teacher or in a learning support role in a maintained school or further education college must be registered with EWC. This also applies to those in youth work and work-based learning and is no different to other professions such as doctors, dentists, nurses, social care workers and solicitors where you have to be registered before you can work. A lot of people work in these education roles in Wales, about 80,000 in fact.
With schools, colleges and other educational settings closed and many exams cancelled because of COVID-19, we are receiving lots of questions from parents, staff, employers and the public, including:
Why doesn’t the school live stream all of the lessons on You Tube for my child?
- Should my child’s teacher be discussing school work with them on Facebook?
- Is it OK for my child to email their teacher if it’s only about school stuff?
I’m worried that my child will not get the exam results they deserve because the exams have been cancelled. I’ve heard the teachers will decide the grades.
- The school is still open for a small number of pupils. Are the staff working there registered with you as some of them are new and are not teachers?
When we receive these queries, we normally tell the person to raise it with the school, college (or other setting) first. This is particularly important if their concern relates to the safeguarding of a young person. There should be guidance in place for the staff on these matters and others like the Welsh Government have also produced helpful information on subjects like live streaming, since the outbreak of COVID-19.
Being registered with the EWC means that staff must comply with our Code of Professional Conduct and Practice. The Code sets out the standards expected of them and is intended to help and guide their behaviours and judgements, both inside and outside of work. The Code also has an important role for parents as it outlines what you can expect of anybody working in teaching and learning in Wales. You can find out more about the Code in a guide we developed jointly with Parentkind earlier this year.
We have reminded staff that the EWC Code of Professional Conduct and Practice is an important point of reference during this period when teaching and learning is happening in different ways and circumstances. This will help them make the right decisions when faced with the sorts of challenges above. We have also produced some “good practice” guides which are on our website. Two of the five guides focus specifically on the two topics of social media and the challenges with examination and assessment, these are very common themes in the questions we are being asked.
The vast majority of our registrants understand the personal and professional responsibility they have as a role model and public figure. However, we advise that if they find themselves in a situation that is causing concern, they should seek advice and support as early as possible from their line manager, trade union or at the very least, someone they trust. That early intervention can often be invaluable.
If you have a concern as a parent, we would advise you to raise it with the school, college (or other educational establishment). However, our joint guide to the Code (with Parentkind) provides more information about what else you can do if you remain concerned.
Useful information for parents: