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Responsible Learner Behaviour

Policy and guidance on unacceptable learner behaviour

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June 2019
August 2020Updated with examples of non-compliance with Covid secure requirements. Updated customer service email address. Removed reference to ‘assessor trainer’. Updated BCP policy and guideline names and links.
November 2021Updated to include further examples of unacceptable behaviour and guidance on the breakdown of staff and learner relationships. Updated phone number. New guidance on
September 2022Updated to include examples of responsible learner behaviour and the learner commitment. Remove reference to post-lockdown return to classrooms policy./td>


Skills & Learning wants all learners to achieve and enjoy their course of study. We want to support our learners to achieve their full potential and support the right of all people to be treated with dignity and respect. We are committed to promoting an environment free from all forms of unacceptable behaviour and will take appropriate steps to achieve this.
Other policies and guidance which support “Responsible Learner Behaviour” are listed at the end of this document.


This policy relates to learner behaviour. For standards relating to staff conduct and behaviour see the policies and procedures listed at the end of this document.

Learner commitment

As a responsible learner you will be expected to:

  • Treat everyone with respect and consideration at all times
  • Arrive on time and attend all sessions
  • Comply with our policies and procedures, including health and safety guidelines, as they are there to keep you safe whilst you learn with us
  • Be responsible for your own learning. This includes completing homework, submitting assignments and coursework as required, updating individual learning plans (ILPs), attending assessments and exams as required
  • Advise us if you have any special needs or require additional support to participate in a course
  • Raise any concerns through the appropriate channels and allow staff to resolve issues

Please note: You may use your mobile phone for learning purposes with your tutor’s permission. You must not use your mobile to make or accept personal calls in class.

Unacceptable Behaviour

There is a broad range of behaviours, events or incidents that are within the scope of this policy. Examples of unacceptable behaviour include:

  • Not following Skills & Learning’s policies, procedures and guidance, including the Learner Code of Conduct (Learner Handbook)
  • Not adhering to the law, for example health and safety, discriminatory behaviour, possessing or using illegal substances, theft
  • Non-compliance with control measures introduced to help our centres to be Covid secure. Control measures include wearing of face coverings in communal areas, maintaining social distancing, regular hand cleansing, not coming to centres if any Covid-19 symptoms are displayed
  • Being in possession of or under the influence of alcohol or drugs while on Skills & Learning’s programmes
  • Rude or offensive language or verbal abuse, including by text, e-mail, social media
  • Threatening behaviour or abuse, including: carrying illegal weapons, replicas or suggesting these may be in your possession; virus related threats such as spitting or close contact
  • Cheating, plagiarism, collusion or other malpractice when doing work contributing to qualifications
  • Bullying, victimisation or harassment, including via the internet, texting or social media
  • Behaviour intended to humiliate, frighten, distress, denigrate, pester or ignore
  • Unacceptable computer use
  • Repeated lateness
  • Involvement in anti-social activityInvolvement in anti-social activity
  • Attempts to coerce others into anti-social or illegal activity
  • Disruption to the learning and assessment of other learners or the work of staff
  • Behaviour that requires an unviable level of staff intervention and time
  • Behaviour that does not meet the professional standards expected in the sector being studied
  • Failure to complete homework and the assignments/coursework required for any
    qualifications being studied
  • Sexual harassment including making inappropriate comments, stalking, sending
    inappropriate/explicit messages/photographs, inappropriate touching, unwanted advances

Please note that this is not a complete list and that there may be other issues that could lead to action being taken. Although it may not have been the intention of an individual to cause offence or disruption, it is important to remember that the perception of the recipient may differ.

Learners should report any incidents immediately to either their tutor or any member of staff via 01202 123444 or A member of staff experiencing unacceptable behaviour from a learner should follow the procedures below.

The Procedures

This policy applies to Skills & Learning staff, governors and learners including those who are learning with subcontracted partners.

It is important to let a person know immediately if their behaviour is unacceptable, even if incidents are minor. If this does not happen, the person, and other people witnessing it will believe the behaviour is acceptable. These procedures provide a framework for managing incidents; communicating what is wrong to the person and agreeing future behaviour.

Where an incident is of a particularly serious nature, it is possible to go straight to Stage 3. Please seek the advice of your line manager.

In some situations, it may be that the relationship between Skills & Learning or a staff member, and learner has broken down to such an extent that the programme of study is no longer tenable. The offer of a place on a course may be withdrawn.

The offer of a place on a course may be withdrawn where it is clear that the professional skills and behaviours required to: complete the course and/or qualification; and/or to enter the related sector, are not being clearly and consistently demonstrated by the learner.

Where the incident may put other learners, visitors or staff at risk, the person may be asked to leave the classroom or premises with immediate effect. This may include noncompliance with Covid-secure control measures, other health & safety expectations, threatening, disruptive or violent behaviour. The police may be called if it is felt there is a risk to others or illegal activity taking place.

For most situations, the procedures that will be followed are as follows:

Informal Procedure

Where minor incidents occur during sessions, the tutor should discuss these with the learner and agree appropriate action. This should be recorded and the tutor must inform their line manager of the discussion.
The tutor may request the support of their line manager during the informal discussion.
Where incidents occur outside sessions, the manager of the programme will carry out the informal discussion.
If the learner declines an informal discussion the matter or concerns should be summarised in a letter to the learner, together with a reference to our expectations and a further invitation to attend an informal discussion. If this is refused, the formal procedures are triggered.

Formal Procedures

Refusal to attend an informal discussion, continued cause for concern or further incidents trigger the formal stages. Full records must be kept and minutes of meetings with the learner given to the learner and any staff involved.
As above, where an incident is of a particularly serious nature, it is possible to go straight to Stage 3. Please seek the advice of your line manager.

Stage 1

In the event of unacceptable behaviour, including a breach of the code of conduct the line manager of the member of staff reporting the incident will meet with the learner to discuss the nature of the problem. An action plan will be agreed with the learner and a review date agreed. If, at the review, everything has gone well and the learner is committed to maintaining standards, the matter will be closed.

Stage 2

If the matter has not been resolved a Stage 2 meeting will be called. The aim of this is to bring together the learner and staff involved in supporting the learner to succeed on their programme. Generally two members of staff will attend the meeting and may include the Tutor, the Assistant Curriculum Manager, Curriculum Manager, Learning Support Officer, or others as relevant. The learner can bring someone to support them.
The meeting will identify and agree the actions required to enable the learner to continue on the programme, including any support which can be provided.

The meeting will agree a review date with the learner. If everything has gone well, the matter will be closed. If not, the following options will be considered.
• An extension of the review period
• Exploring whether the course/Adult Learning is right for the learner and other options available
• Stage 3 of this process
Stage 3 of the procedures will be applied if:
• Stage 2 has not resolved the problem
• unacceptable behaviour or the allegation of unacceptable behaviour is of a particularly serious nature

Stage 3 – Disciplinary Panel

The learner may be temporarily suspended from the course. The learner will be invited to attend a Disciplinary Panel. This will consist of the Assistant Curriculum Manager or Curriculum Manager, the Curriculum and Quality Manager and others as appropriate. The allegations and evidence will be reviewed and the learner asked to comment on them and to present any additional evidence. The learner can bring someone to support them.
If the learner’s unacceptable behaviour is found to have been serious, the Disciplinary Panel will normally take one of the following courses of action:
• A final written warning
• Temporary exclusion from attending
• Permanent exclusion from Skills and Learning

Stage 4 – Appeal

The learner can appeal against the outcome of the Disciplinary Panel to the Principal Learning Manager. This should be done in writing within 5 working days of being informed of any decision.
All reports of concern or incidents at any stage must be reported to the line manager and forwarded to the Curriculum and Quality Manager.

Other policies and protocols that support Skills & Learning’s Responsible Learner Behaviour Policy and Procedures which provide specific guidance are the:
• Skills & Learning’s Health and Safety Statement
• Skills & Learning computer use and e-safety and internet use policy
• Malpractice (including collusion, cheating and plagiarism) and Maladministration Policy
• We are Listening – BCP Council’s Feedback Policy and Process
• BCP Council’s Equality & Diversity strategy
• BCP Council’s Reporting and Recording Prejudice Incidents Protocol
• BCP Council’s Dignity at Work Policy
• BCP Council’s Disciplinary Procedure
• BCP Council’s Dealing with Violence, Aggressive and Threatening Behaviour
• BCP Council’s Alcohol Drug or other substance misuse guidance
• BCP Council’s Corporate Safeguarding Strategy

Read more of our policies below