Staff codes of conduct and teacher registration

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Professional codes of conduct can provide another pathway for complaints about a staff member.

Staff in all Victorian schools must conform to the Victorian Teaching Professional Code of Conduct. Government school staff and other DET employees must also conform to the Code of Conduct for Victorian Public Sector Employees.

The Teaching Code of Conduct

The Victorian Teaching Professional Code of Conduct has been developed by the Victorian Institute of Teaching. It outlines the professional conduct, personal conduct and professional competence expected of a teacher working in a Victorian school.

The Victorian Institute of Teaching is also the body that registers Victorian teachers. All teachers must be registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching, in order to work as teachers in a Victorian school – this includes casual relief (emergency) teachers.

The Teaching Code of Conduct is not a disciplinary tool, and cannot be enforced. It is mainly a guide for teachers. The Victorian Institute of Teaching can conduct an enquiry into a teacher’s registration, but only if that teacher is alleged to be guilty of serious misconduct, serious incompetence or lack of fitness to teach. What these terms mean is not defined in Victorian legislation, but by legal cases, mostly related to other professions.


The Code of Conduct for Victorian Public Sector Employees

The Code of Conduct for Victorian Public Sector Employees (including government school staff) sets out broad standards in relation to integrity, impartiality, accountability, personal conduct and respect for human rights, as outlined in the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and responsibilities.

This Code is binding, but very broad. The intention is that individual organizations (such as schools) use this Code to develop their own codes and standards. A breach of the code could constitute misconduct, and be grounds for discipline within the organization.


Concerns or complaints about staff

If you have a complaint about a staff member’s actions or how they are doing their job, the principal is usually the most appropriate person to contact first, unless the complaint is about them. If that is the case, you can go directly to your DET regional office.

Complaints about school staff conduct or performance are generally dealt with by the principal, through performance management or disciplinary action.

If the complaint involves possible criminal matters, you should contact Victoria Police. If you are concerned that your child is at risk of or being subjected to any form of violence or abuse at school, this is always a matter for the police.

  • In an emergency you should always telephone 000. Or you can contact your regional Victoria Police SOCA (Sexual Offences and Child Abuse) Unit. Find contacts at – search under “SOCA unit”.