Teachers and pupils - extracts from Code of Professional Conduct

The following are extracts from the STAT Code of Professional Conduct and Professional Competence

A. THE TEACHER-PUPIL RELATIONSHIP

1. Consent:

A teacher should clearly explain the nature of the work and procedures to be followed during the course of lessons and ensure that the informed consent of the pupil is obtained. In the case of a pupil under the age of eighteen years and for vulnerable adults, the informed consent of the pupil's parent or guardian/carer must be obtained.

2. Medical Diagnosis:

A teacher must not make any kind of medical diagnosis or prescribe treatment for a pupil unless qualified to do so and subject to Section 3.A.5, Mixing of Disciplines.

3. Risk management

A teacher should be aware of and manage effectively and safely any risks associated with the teaching of the Alexander Technique.

4. Pupil records

Any pupil records should be kept in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

5. Mixing of Disciplines

During the course of a lesson in the Alexander Technique, a teacher will not introduce other practices or disciplines without explicitly informing
the pupil in advance. (See also 4.A.6. of Guidance).

6. Breach of Trust

Teachers will maintain an understanding with pupils that the professional relationship will be strictly observed. The risk of a breach of trust or abuse of power can be lessened by the strict keeping of boundaries. Any action that breaches this trust will constitute serious professional misconduct. Four particular areas are identified in which this trust will be breached:

     (i) A teacher enters into a sexual relationship with a pupil.

     (ii) A teacher enters into an emotional relationship with a pupil which could be reasonably expected to disrupt that pupil's family life or otherwise damage or cause distress to the pupil or to the families involved.

     (iii) A teacher improperly discloses to a third party information about a pupil, which is learned directly or indirectly in a professional capacity as a teacher of the Alexander Technique. The death of a pupil does not absolve a teacher from this obligation.

      There are exceptions to this rule. In all cases, except under (b) below where the law requires the information to be disclosed without the knowledge and consent of the pupil, the disclosure must be made with the knowledge and consent of the pupil and it must be in the interests of the pupil to do so:

     (a) if the disclosure is to another teacher to whom the pupil has been referred or who is giving lessons to the pupil, and it is in the interests of the pupil or for the protection of that teacher;

     (b) if the law requires such information to be disclosed;

     (c) if the disclosure is necessary for the purpose of research, training or education in furtherance of the Objects of STAT as laid down in its Memorandum of Association, provided that no reference is made as to the identity of the pupil concerned, and care is taken that the pupil's identity is not otherwise made known.

     (d) if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the disclosure is necessary for the purpose of eliminating or reducing a significant risk of serious bodily harm to a person or group of persons.

(iv) A teacher abuses his or her professional position by improperly exerting influence upon a pupil in order to acquire personal gain or services, for example: persuading a pupil to lend the teacher money or to alter a will in the teacher's favour.

7. Incapacity

A teacher must not practise if his/her ability to do so is seriously impaired by illness or injury.

8. Insurance:

It is a condition of membership that teaching members practising in the United Kingdom must be insured according to Rule 4.1 of STAT’s Rules.

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4 GUIDANCE NOTES ON BEST PRACTICE

The following paragraphs are for guidance. Breach of their provisions may not necessarily lead to disciplinary action. However, if disciplinary action takes places under the Code, breach of these provisions may be taken into account in assessing the gravity of the case and any penalty to be imposed.

A. THE TEACHER-PUPIL RELATIONSHIP

1. A teacher’s obligation to a pupil is based on the contractual relationship between them. This can be a verbal agreement or a written document; written is always preferable.

2. A teacher should clearly explain the nature of the contract with the pupil; in particular, the proposed number and duration of the lessons, the amount of the fees (including cancellation fees, if any) and methods of payment.

3. The Society has produced a policy relating to working with children and vulnerable adults. Teachers are reminded that under the Rules they agree to be bound by and to comply with policies made by STAT and that any breach of thispolicy in particular would be taken extremely seriously. These polices are downloadable from the Members' section of the STAT website and are available from the STAT office.

4. Recommendations to other appropriate qualified practitioners should only be made where the teacher is qualified to do so.

5. A pupil affords the teacher privileged access to confidences. Good practice depends upon the maintenance of trust between teacher and pupil, and the understanding by both that a professional relationship will be strictly observed. In this situation, the teacher must exercise great care and discretion so as not to damage this relationship.

6. STAT’s group insurance policy only covers teaching of the Alexander Technique. It is the teachers’ responsibility to ensure that any other disciplines they practise are adequately insured, and that all their activities are covered. (See also 3.A.3.)

7. In the event of any problem with a pupil, teachers are advised to inform the office. Problems could include the pupil becoming unwell, complaining of pain during or after a lesson in which case they should be advised to see a medical practitioner.

I have been doing the Alexander Technique for ~2 years now... and am a lighter and faster runner than I was 10 years ago!

Jason Pufahl, Chief Information Security Officer

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