Ahead of sentence being passed tomorrow on the Manchester sexual offender Michael Brewer, the Council of the European Association of Conservatories in Brussels has issued a fresh set of guidelines on protecting both sides in music tuition.
It marks the beginning of a code of practice for music schools and colleges. Here is a key passage, leaked to Slipped Disc:
AEC Guidelines on Establishing Institutional Codes of Good Practice for Professional Teaching Conduct in Conservatoires
Institutional Codes of Practice should normally contain the following elements:
A general description of the rights and responsibilities of teachers, students and administrative staff as understood by the institution
A broad indication of the types of behaviour in the teaching situation which would be seen as infringing those rights or responsibilities
Some attempt to define the boundaries of the acceptable and unacceptable – e.g. the amount of body contact that is appropriate in teaching correct breathing procedures and the kinds of protocols that are recommended when operating in these areas (where such definitions take the form of detailed guidance relevant to a particular department/area of study, it may be more appropriate for them to be complied in the form of departmental supplements to the main code)
Guidance on what action to take if an infringement does take place, together with clear indications of the person(s) to whom it should be reported
An outline of the procedures which would then be enacted by the institution, including some sense of the range of sanctions that might be applied
A strongly worded statement giving reassurance that those who report incidents in good faith will be supported in doing so and protected as far as possible from any negative repercussions, while, at the same time, confirming that incidents will be investigated in a way that safeguards individuals from malicious accusations
The inclusion of some kind of reference to the genuinely consensual relationships that may arise from time to time between teachers and their adult students, with a statement as to the overall institutional view on these and clear guidance on the steps that both teacher and student should take – for their own protection and in fairness to others – if they should find themselves in such a situation.
UPDATE: The entire document has been made available – with difficulty – online. Here’s what you do: