The NZ Teachers Council has a legislated responsibility to develop a Code of Ethics for all teachers under section 139AE(g) of the Education Act 1989. Developing the Code is also one of the ways the Council can fulfil its requirements under S139AE(a), providing professional leadership, and s139AE(b), encouraging best teaching practice.
Section 139AI further details the legislated requirements for development of the Code and its application once completed.
In March 2003 the Council hosted a summit entitled "Working towards a Code of Ethics for teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand". The Minister of Education Hon Trevor Mallard and the Chair of the Teachers Council Mr Stan Rodger opened the summit with attendees representing a wide spectrum of the education sector including government agencies, teacher unions, principals, teacher education providers, school trustees and other sector representatives.
Four speakers addressed the meeting on different aspects of a Code of Ethics;
Some of the main issues that arose were:
A motion from NZEI calling for recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi underpinning the code and adequate resources from the Minister was passed at the conclusion of the summit
Following the Summit a writers group (Alan Hall, Ivan Snook, and Colin Hicks) was contracted to "consider the existing material prepared by the previous working party" (TRB working party) and to offer a written basis suitable for the consultative process impending with teachers and interested parties. This work was completed and the report from the writers group was presented to Council at the meeting in July 2003. At that same meeting Council endorsed a draft action plan for the development of the Code from that point.
The written material including suggestions for a draft Code were used in an initial round of consultation. The Teachers Council working party used the feedback received to develop a refined version of a draft Code. This draft and the accompanying Maori translation, were distributed for extensive consultation with teachers, school adminiistrators and other interested parties.