Education Lawyers for Teachers
Our expert education lawyers for teachers provide specialist representation for teachers who have been referred to the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) for an investigation into allegations of professional misconduct. We have a nationwide client base and so can assist with legal representation for teachers regardless of your geographical location. Our team of NCTL lawyers are dedicated and experienced in providing legal advice for teachers. We will work tirelessly to ensure that you are robustly defended.
What do our education lawyers do?
Our education lawyers have experience in:
- Advising teachers from the beginning of an investigation and their referral to the NCTL, to ensure that a clear defence strategy is set from the outset;
- Preparing written representations to defend an application by the NCTL for an Interim Prohibition Order (IPO), which if granted would prevent a teacher from teaching during the duration of the NCTL’s investigation;
- Providing full legal representation before the NCTL’s Professional Conduct Panel;
- Making representations to the Disclosure and Barring Service;
- Applying to have a Prohibition Order set aside;
- Advising about the merits of an appeal of decision by the NCTL’s Professional Conduct Panel;
Conduct an appeal to the High Court.
Who do the NCTL regulate?
The NCTL regulates teachers in schools, including academies, independent schools, sixth form colleges, youth custody settings and children’s homes.
What is the role of the NCTL’s Professional Conduct Panel?
The role of the NCTL’s Professional Conduct Panel is to decide whether it is necessary to recommend to the Secretary of State that a teacher is made the subject of a prohibition order, preventing them from teaching.
Who might refer a teacher to the NCTL?
Referrals can be from a variety of sources but are commonly made by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), schools, other regulated professionals or parents.
What sort of allegations will the NCTL investigate?
The NCTL only consider allegations of serious misconduct and not allegations relating to competence, underperformance or a teacher’s health.
When considering allegations against a teacher of serious misconduct, the NCTL will decide if a teacher’s behaviour is fundamentally incompatible with being a teacher. If so, they will decide if it is necessary to impose a prohibition order, to prevent a teacher from teaching.
How will the NCTL investigate?
The NCTL will take statements and collate documentary evidence to support the allegations against a teacher. The teacher is then given the opportunity to respond to the allegations in writing and can provide the NCTL with documentation to support their defence.
The NCTL will then assess if there is a case for the teacher to answer and if so, will refer the teacher to appear before the NCTL’s Professional Conduct Panel.
What if a teacher is the subject of a criminal investigation by the police as well as an NCTL investigation?
With Richard Nelson LLP you will benefit from a multi-disciplinary team, comprising lawyers for teachers and criminal defence lawyers. This enables us, where necessary, to provide effective representation for teachers who face criminal investigations by the police. Our team are experienced at representing teachers in police interviews under caution. We will represent teachers before the Magistrates or Crown Court in any criminal proceedings, should it become necessary to do so.
Because we understand the significance of a caution or conviction for any teacher we will work hard to defend your case. Our multi-disciplinary approach ensures that when defending a criminal allegation, we will not harm your position before the NCTL We fully understand the difficulties that you will face as a teacher, both professionally and personally. Sadly we have experienced instances where general criminal lawyers have focused solely on a criminal issue, without recognition of the broader issues for a teacher.
What happens before the NCTL’s Professional Conduct Panel?
The NCTL’s Professional Conduct Panel will hear evidence from both parties and will decide whether the teacher is guilty of unacceptable professional conduct. Essentially the NCTL’s Professional Conduct Panel will be deciding if the misconduct is proven and if so, whether the specific misconduct is fundamentally incompatible with the teacher continuing in the profession. The Panel will hear any mitigation and decide if they wish to recommend that the Secretary of State imposes a prohibition order against the teacher.
Unlike many other regulators, the NCTL only has the sanction of a prohibition order available to them.The recommendations of the NCTL’s Professional Conduct Panel are then given to the Secretary of State, who makes the final decision whether to impose a prohibition order and whether the teacher can in the future apply to have the prohibition order set aside after a specified period of time (a minimum of 2 years) or whether the prohibition order will be for life.
How we can help a teacher being investigated by the NCTL
Throughout an NCTL investigation, our experienced education lawyers will provide you with specialist legal representation. We understand the stress you face when you are subjected to NCTL investigations and the far-reaching consequences for your career, reputation and personal life, when your suitability to be a teacher is called into question. We will work closely with you, taking a proactive approach, to secure you the best possible outcome.
Drawing on our extensive experience we prepare robust defences to support denied allegations and where necessary we will present the Panel with compelling mitigation on your behalf.
We have experience of defending sensitive allegations against teachers, including allegations that conduct was sexually motivated.
We understand that the NCTL often impose tight deadlines and we are used to working on cases at short notice where necessary.
Can I appeal a decision of the NCTL’s Professional Conduct Panel?
Yes, but only if there are grounds in law that can be argued, namely that the NCTL’s Professional Conduct Panel made a mistake in law when making their decision. You cannot simply lodge an appeal because you do not like the outcome of the NCTL’s decision. In an appeal to the High Court,
In an appeal to the High Court, ordinarily, the loser pays the winner’s legal costs. Appealing a decision of the NCTL can, therefore, be an expensive exercise.
An application for an appeal has to be lodged with the High Court, together with detailed grounds and a paginated bundle, within 28 days of the teacher being notified of the outcome of their case. It is essential therefore if you are contemplating lodging an appeal against the NCTL’s decision, that you obtain expert advice on the legal merits of your High Court appeal without delay.
From the outset of what was a stressful and confusing situation, Marie Dancer handled my case impeccably; with the utmost professionalism and a genuine sense of caring and empathy. I contacted her at very short notice when I felt there was no hope in resolving my fitness to practise case. She reassured me, answered my queries promptly as and when I raised them and worked tirelessly over the Christmas break to ensure we made the deadline for submission in my case. What made the difference – as opposed to other legal firms I had contacted, is she actually believed in me. Suffice it to say, we won the case and a successful result was obtained – in a very short time scale.
I cannot recommend Richard Nelson LLP as a practise highly enough but more than that, I cannot sing Marie’s praises highly enough. She quite literally turned my professional life around. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
– NCTL Case
I had the good fortune to contact Richard Nelson LLP and they talked me through everything in plain and simple language, while showing me huge understanding of the complexity of these cases. You have handled everything with such professionalism and yet remained collected and have shown humanity in your guidance towards me. I wish to thank you with total sincerity, my life now stands a chance of rebuilding and I will always be thankful for the way you have handled this matter.
– A Client
Get in Touch
We offer impartial advice, so contact us if you would like to speak to one of our expert education lawyers in strict confidence and without obligation:
- Request a free call back using the contact form on this page
- Phone us during office hours on 0845 216 2000
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who Can Help You?
What we do...
Our expert defence lawyers for teachers are experienced at providing teachers with legal advice and representation in a range of regulatory issues that include:
Representation before an NCTL Professional Conduct Panel;
Written representations against Interim Prohibition Orders;
Criminal investigations and proceedings;
Employer's Disciplinary Hearing.