Fitness to practise means having the skills, knowledge, competence, and character to practise in a profession.
Fitness to practise is also the process used by statutory professional regulators to deal with cases referred to them.
Most of the referrals we receive come from employers and involve allegations of unacceptable professional conduct, serious professional incompetence, and/or a conviction of a relevant offence.
Our fitness to practise staff and panel members are responsible for this area of the Education Workforce Council’s (EWC) regulatory work. This includes discipline, suitability for registration, and Induction appeals.
Employers and agents
Employers and agents are required in legislation to make referrals to the EWC.
Employers and agents should use this form to refer cases to the EWC.
Any individual or organisation can make a complaint about the alleged conduct or incompetence of a registrant.
To make a complaint, you need to fill in this form, clearly set out the allegations you are making, and provide the evidence which supports those allegations.
Most cases we receive are put to an investigating committee. These meetings are held in private.
The Investigating Committee must include a minimum of three panel members, including at least one member from the same registrant category as the practitioner involved in the case, and one lay person.
The Investigating Committee is supported by an independent legal adviser who does not participate in the decision making, but is there to ensure the investigation is fair.
The Committee’s role is to decide whether or not there are likely to be findings of unacceptable professional conduct, serious professional incompetence, and/or a conviction of a relevant offence if the case proceeds to a public hearing.
We will consider all breaches of our Code of Professional Conduct and Practice reported to us, but only investigate those where we believe the threshold for unacceptable professional conduct, serious professional incompetence, and/or a conviction for a relevant offence might be met.
For example, a dismissal for one of the following is more likely to meet the threshold for unacceptable professional conduct:
- tampering with examination coursework
- an inappropriate relationship with a learner
- assaulting a learner
Interim Suspension Orders
We have powers to impose Interim Suspension Orders.
The 2017 Disciplinary Rules and Procedures were updated to include Interim Suspension Orders following a public consultation on the draft rules which lasted a month between April and May 2021.
Read the updated Disciplinary Procedures and Rules 2023 .