Staff Code of Conduct


I currently work in a special school for children aged between 3-19 years old who have interaction & communication difficulties including Autism. Staff work very closely with the pupils by doing intensive interaction as well as looking after their medical needs which may include toiletting/showering.

All staff sign annually to say they agree with the code of conduct but just recently it seems that some staff are not adhering to it in ways like wearing blue denim jeans, wearing long false acrylic nails and not trying to cover up their tattoos as much as possible.

I am thinking I should hold a whole school meeting to reiterate what is expected of them and include dress code/appearance.

If staff still do not adhere to this, would you suggest speaking to the individual informally and documenting the conversation as to why they are not adhering to the code of conduct and then explain if it continues we will take them down the disciplinary process?

I'm just wondering if anyone else has the same issues and how they have dealt with it? 

Any advice would be appreciated,




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  • Hi Lisa

    Maybe intitially try to understand what is driving the behavoiur behind the deviation from the dress code / appearance.  It could simply be a case that employees are not aware of this, or have chosen to ignore this.

    Also I think dress codes can be quite problematic in terms of being prescriptive, for example in terms of tattoos and whether these are an issue for the business, some employers are starting to relax this as an approach:

    I like the idea of Chrissy' quick adjustment chat presumably it would be the line manager who would be responsible for this?

    If it is a case of they won't follow the policy, then formal disciplinary action is the backstop position. But I would prefer to understand from an ER perspective the reasons why employees feel they could not compy with this.

    All the best




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  • Hi Lisa,

    I think the plan you've set out in your post is a good one. Firstly, addressing the issue generally in a big meeting- I would try to emphasise the reasons why you have these rules in place- is it for safety, hygeine? Really try to help the staff understand the importance of the code of conduct and how it benefits the pupils. If they understand why they're being asked to follow these rules they might be more inclined to do it.

    If people still aren't adhering then yes, I would move to an informal chat. I call them Quick Adjustment Chats- giving employees a chance to make a quick adjustment to their behaviour before it becomes a formal issue. So catch the member of staff at a quiet moment, explain the problem, ask for their thoughts and then agree on how to move forward, while warning them that though this is an informal issue at the moment it may become more serious if they do not adhere to the policy. Then send them an email, confirming what you discussed and agreed, and that this record will be kept on file for 1, 3, 6 months (whatever is appropriate), and that if any further issues arise then it may be taken to disciplinary. If no further issue then the record will be deleted.

    Good luck!



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