Thousands of teachers in England are campaigning for a new code of conduct to be scrapped because they say it intrudes into their private lives and strips them of basic human rights.I wholeheartedly agree with their premise - when you work for someone, you rent out your time and behaviour for the duration of the job, that's all; anything else, and you might as well join a cult - but it's a little amusing to see them realise that this is where all those campaigns about 'thoughtcrime' they cheered have led.
A petition against the code – which comes into force next month and requires teachers to uphold "public trust and confidence" in their profession, even out of school and on weekends – has collected more than 10,000 signatures over the summer holidays.
Seriously, when they were championing the right for employers to sack people who belonged to a political party they didn't much like, did they not think then 'Oh, hang on, this is going a bit far...'?
Chris Keates, general secretary of Nasuwt, said the code, which was last revised four years ago, "gave the impression that teachers could not be trusted, and that their regulatory body needed to pin down their every activity and tell them how to behave".Oh, I agree, Chris. But when you supped with the Devil before, you clearly forgot to bring your long spoon.
She said: "We are not opposed to a code of conduct in principle, but what we have here are pious and vague statements that are open to abuse. If a teacher speaks passionately about their subject and urges students to choose it, is that going to be a breach of the code because it is not 'impartial'? The code is littered with statements that could put teachers' careers in jeopardy."
She added: "This code intrudes into teachers' private lives; it is an affront to teachers' basic human rights. There is no evidence to demonstrate it is needed."