The power to issue minutes embodying the conditions of grant for Public Elementary Schools was conferred by Sections 7 and 97 of the Elementary Education Act, 1870, and those minutes, commonly called the Code, contained conditions for the certification of teachers which included powers to recall or suspend on educational grounds the teacher's certificate
This Education Code and later the Code Regulations for Public Elementary Schools provided means whereby the Board of Education could bar a teacher from employment in a grant aided school, either temporarily or permanently, who was in their opinion unsuitable on grounds of misconduct or grave professional default. The board was required in such cases to use every available means of informing the teacher of the grounds of the proposed action and of giving him an opportunity for explanation.
Statutory sanction was contained in the Elementary School Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1898, which was concerned with teachers certificated by the Education Department as defined under Section 11 of the act. Where the certificate of a teacher had been cancelled or suspended, the granting of superannuation benefits was conditional on its restoration, or if a teacher was in receipt of an allowance and was guilty of misconduct under section 8, the Treasury could either suspend or determine the allowance in whole or part.
Under Section 10(1) of the School Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1918, misconduct such as would render a teacher unfit to remain in service justified the refusal of superannuation benefits, and what were termed the defaults or demerits of a teacher provided grounds for granting benefits at a reduced rate, but not for refusing them altogether. The board was not able to administer this part of the act without powers to investigate charges of misconduct and the teacher thereby to be given a chance to defend himself.
The Regulations for Secondary Schools did not contain such powers, since teachers employed in secondary schools were not subject to Code recognition and there was no real means of preventing offending teachers from being employed in these schools. An article was therefore introduced into the Regulations for Secondary School, 1921, under Section 118 of the Education Act, 1921, which enabled the Board to withdraw recognition of these teachers. This established some uniformity of treatment for the three classes of teachers (provision was made in the Technical Regulations of 1910).
The Regulations for Secondary Schools, 1926, contained an amendment which expressly provided that teachers declared by the board to be unsuitable for employment should not be employed. A confidential list of secondary school teachers, whose recognition had been suspended or withdrawn, or who had received a warning from the board was maintained by the board and periodically circulated to HM Inspectors responsible for higher education in order that early notification of the employment of these teachers in secondary institutions could be made.
The years spanning the Second World War saw changing attitudes toward some forms of misconduct of teachers resulting from war-time conditions. General guidance for dealing with cases of misconduct was prescribed in all appropriate regulations concerning schools or teacher training. Whilst vigilance and investigation in no way diminished, existing polices and procedures were reviewed in the light of current standards and tolerance of public opinion.
The Education Act of 1944 placed a responsibility on the Minister of Education in respect of independent schools, and legislated for their registration and inspection. After due consideration of teacher shortage the minister announced in 1954 her intention to implement Part III of the Act in 1957 and independent school proprietors were invited to cooperate in securing the exclusion from teaching of unsuitable persons.