The ethical behaviour of all actors in education is one of the first themes for priority action that was selected as being of particular importance in furthering quality education.

In developing an overall approach based on positive ethical principles (beliefs, norms, values…), the attention under this priority line is focused upon the different sets of actors, with specific guidance on the conduct and practices expected of them.

The following activities are proposed for 2015-2017:

Based upon the approach developed in the documents on The Ethical principles and The ethical behaviour of all actors in education prepared by Ian Smith and Tom Hamilton, a state of play of the situation in Europe as regards the use of existing codes of conduct for teachers at all levels could be envisaged. This study would present the current challenges and future issues linked to the question, but should also show the impact of these codes where they are used.

Main expected outcomes:

  1. Specific guidelines are drawn up for different groups and actors, according to the identified needs;
  2. Examples of good practices, based upon concrete national examples are shared;
  3. Areas requiring further action are identified;
  4. Based upon the identified needs, a Council of Europe Charter of Ethics is drafted to which institutions/organisations could commit to and sign.
  5. A Council of Europe Recommendation to Member States is drafted, with a distinctive emphasis on the public responsibility of actors in education to achieve ethics, transparency and integrity in education.

Target groups

The first main target group would be schoolteachers, as many codes of conduct already exist for this category of actors. Another survey on existing ethical codes for other actors could be made in a second phase.