Disciplinary Procedure

A          INTRODUCTION

BCMB’s ethos is one of support and guidance. As a College, we recognize that students who demonstrate difficult behaviour on our courses may need our help and we do all we can to provide this. In extremely rare cases, however, there may be a need for disciplinary action to safeguard all students and the teaching staff concerned. This disciplinary procedure deals with breaches of the BCMB Learning Contract, signed by students at the start of their Professional Training Course. It sets out:

  • Definition of a breach
  • Deciding if a breach has occurred
  • A staged process including informal and formal warnings as well as a full disciplinary hearing
  • Sanctions available to BCMB
  • Right of Appeal

BCMB may invoke this procedure if a member of the teaching team suspects that a breach has taken place. It applies to conduct in the learning environment of professional massage courses run by BCMB. It may also apply to students’ conduct outside the BCMB environment, especially where that conduct could bring the reputation of BCMB into disrepute eg by doing massage inappropriately or posing a danger to the public or a fellow student.

This procedure does not preclude the Massage Training Institute (MTI) from following its own Disciplinary Procedure in relation to a student’s conduct.

B          BREACH

A breach of the Learning Contract is defined as a violation of the Terms and Conditions of the Learning Contract. This may be accidental or deliberate. This may include

  • poor attendance eg persistent lateness or absence (Learning Contract Section E),
  • failure to disclose important information (Section F),
  • failure to complete study assignments (Section H),
  • unprofessional conduct (Section I),
  • non-payment of fees (Section J)
  • no insurance (Section K)

A breach may be minor if it only occurs once eg non-payment of a fee instalment after one month; poor draping technique leading to exposure; accidentally sharing confidential information without permission. A minor breach will lead to an informal warning.

A breach may be major if it occurs repeatedly or is sufficiently serious eg non-payment of course fees for 3 months; deliberate exposure of oneself or fellow students; sharing confidential information that can be damaging to others verbally or on social media; touching intimate areas of a client’s or fellow student’s body without permission; harassment of staff, clients or fellow students.

A major breach will normally lead immediately to a formal warning although, if sufficiently serious, BCMB may move straight to a Disciplinary Hearing. This is defined as incidents of abuse as set out in Appendix A of the BCMB Safeguarding Policy and incidents where criminal activity is suspected.

C          DECIDING IF A BREACH HAS OCCURRED

It is the prerogative of the Course Leader, in consultation with the College Director, to decide whether a breach has taken place and to invoke this procedure. This may be invoked at the same time as the BCMB Safeguarding Policy.

Before deciding if any breach has occurred, the Course Leader should discuss matters with the student(s) concerned as well as other relevant parties eg other course members or teaching staff. It is recommended that this be conducted informally in the first instance.

Course Leaders will decide within 7 days of an incident if a breach has taken place.

  1. BCMB also reserves the right to report sufficiently serious cases to the police, especially if there is suspicion of criminal activity.

D        STAGED PROCESS

There is a 3 stage disciplinary process:

  1. Informal Warning

The course leader will explain verbally to the student concerned that s/he has breached the Learning Contract and in what manner. This will take place within 14 days of the incident concerned. The course leader will make recommendations on what should happen to rectify the situation. A note will be left on the student’s file recording the date, time and content of the warning and the student’s response.

A student may receive 2 or more informal warnings but not for the same breach. Any repeated breach will lead to at least a formal warning, if not a full Disciplinary Hearing.

  1. Formal Warning

The course leader will notify the student in writing of the breach. This will set out clearly what has happened and what measures the student should take to rectify the situation. The student will be asked to sign a copy of the written warning. The possibility of this leading to a full Disciplinary Hearing will be made clear. The written warning will be placed on the student’s file. This will take place within 14 days of the incident concerned. The student will have a right of reply, which may be verbally or in writing to the Course Leader or College Director.

A student may only receive one formal warning. Any further breach, minor or major, will lead immediately to a full Disciplinary Hearing.

  1. Disciplinary Hearing
  • Disciplinary hearings will take place as soon as possible and no later than 21 days from the original incident.
  • The student will be provided with written evidence 3 days in advance of the Hearing, setting out fully the nature of the alleged breach and the possible sanctions.
  • The evidence will be provided by the Investigating Officer, who will usually be the Course Leader concerned.  See Note 1.
  • The student may have a personal supporter in attendance at the hearing, who should not be from the legal field or trained in law.
  • Hearings are managed by the Course Leader and another senior member of BCMB staff, who has not taught the student concerned.
  • Neither party to the Hearing should have legal representation, although legal advice may be sought in advance if required.
  • Hearings are conducted in accordance with the civil code ie they examine the balance of probabilities.
  • Hearings examine the evidence and if upheld, BCMB may impose suitable sanctions. The conclusion of the hearing is recorded and placed on the student’s file.

As a safeguarding measure, students who are subject to a Disciplinary Hearing will be suspended from taking part in the course until the Hearing is completed.   If there is an Appeal against any sanction (see section F), then the suspension will continue until the Appeal process is completed.

All notes on disciplinary matters relating to students’ conduct may also be made available to MTI or the police as required.

E          SANCTIONS

BCMB reserves the right to impose suitable sanctions, according to the circumstances involved.   Sanctions may also be combined eg deferring a qualification coupled with a programme of supervision. Sanctions should be appropriate and proportionate to the circumstances involved.  They may include:

  • Reporting non-payment of fees to debt collection agencies.
  • Expulsion from the course.
  • Deferring the student’s qualification (ie not signing the QC8 required by MTI) with clear conditions on what needs to happen before the qualification can be awarded.
  • Requiring a programme of supervision sessions charged for at a rate set by the Course Leader concerned. These sessions will aim to rectify issues arising from the case eg enabling the student to complete missing assignments; to prepare for examinations; to consider matters of conduct and how the student’s behavior should be modified.

BCMB reserves the right to retain all course fees in the event of disciplinary sanctions being imposed.

Students who are suspended but allowed to continue with the course following investigation will be provided with tutorial support as required. This will catch up any missed lessons. It will be at the discretion of the Course Leader whether to charge the student concerned for these tutorials. Students who are cleared of all wrong doing will not be charged.

F          APPEAL

A student who has been called for a Disciplinary Hearing and been the subject of sanctions has the right of appeal, as follows:

  • The Appeal must be heard within 14 days of the Disciplinary Hearing
  • The Appeals Panel will be the College Director, the Course Leader concerned and an independent person from the MTI, such as a tutor or regional representative. The panel membership will be agreed in advance by all parties.
  • The student may have a personal supporter in attendance at the hearing, who should not be from the legal field or trained in law.
  • Neither party to the Appeal should have legal representation, although legal advice may be sought in advance if required.
  • Appeals are conducted in accordance with the civil code ie they examine the balance of probabilities.
  • The appeal will hear the student’s case against the sanctions. A response will be given within 72 hours.
  • If upheld, the student’s appeal will lead to the sanctions being withdrawn and any financial costs incurred by the student will be reimbursed.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Note 1

If the Course Leader or College Director are not available eg sick or on holiday, then there 2 options:

  1. Timescales are renegotiated as required
  2. Suitable alternatives officers are appointed eg a Senior teaching assistant instead of the Course Leader; another senior member of BCMB staff eg another Course Leader, instead of the College Director. These decisions are made in agreement with the student concerned and may be preferable to possible delays.

Disciplinary Procedure – How it works:

BCMB Disciplinary Procedure - How it works

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