The General Teaching Council for England published their new draft Code of Conduct and Practice for teachers in England in November 2008. Teachers are required to sign a clause saying that they will adhere to the code before they can be registered, and the code is used as a standard by which teachers are judged by the GTC or by employment tribunals, as well as by schools and Local Education Authorities.
Christian Concern For Our Nation (CCFON) points out that the code requires teachers to ‘promote equality and diversity in all their professional relationships’ in Principle 4. This implies that teachers will be required to promote other religions and/or sexual practices outside marriage and it could lead to censorship.
CCFON believe that teachers should be required to respect pupils, parents and colleagues from other backgrounds, but should not be required to promote other religions and sexual orientations, such as homosexuality, that are contrary to their beliefs. The ordinary meanings of the words ‘equality’ and ‘diversity’ should not cause a problem, but recent cases have shown how these terms have been interpreted to require promotion of values contrary to Christian beliefs.
For example, a nurse, Caroline Petrie, was suspended for offering to pray for a patient; and a registrar, Lillian Ladele, was dismissed for refusing to carry out civil partnership ceremonies. In future, Christian teachers could face disciplinary action or even dismissal for practising their faith.