The Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal cancelled a teacher’s registration after he committed serious misconduct by entering into an intimate relationship with a student. The teacher is now seeking permanent name suppression.

The Tribunal acknowledged that since 1 July 2014 the default position is for Tribunal hearings to be public and for decisions to be published in full. The Tribunal noted that there is an expectation that the name suppression of teachers will only be made in exceptional circumstances in cases where the public interest or the interests of individuals is necessary. This will notably be when children or young people and sexual acts are involved.

The Tribunal held that the teacher, school and student would be given name suppression as a result of the teacher having worked in a school of only 500 students of which the student was only one of two girls in his class. When the relationship was discovered the teacher left the school and area immediately, and this meant that members of the small community could discern the identity of the student if any names were revealed. The Tribunal saw this as detrimental to both the student and the other female in the class who could be accused of having had a relationship with the teacher.

Alan Knowsley

Education Lawyer

Wellington