Overseas teachers no longer classed as new graduates

Despite having 15 years experience, including a stint as acting principal, Canadian Patrick De Vuono was classified as a ‘beginning’ teacher by the Diocese of Wollongong when he started work with them this year.

However, thanks to attending one of the IEU’s Accreditation at Proficient Workshops in July, De Vuono learnt that NESA has instituted a new policy allowing for his previous experience in Australia to be taken into consideration.

Now the recently approved Enterprise Agreement (EA) for systemic Catholic schools is in place, he will also be able to have his past experience in Canada taken into consideration.

The new provisions of the EA allow teachers to claim for overseas experience as long as a statement of service is provided.

De Vuono actually studied for his Diploma in Education as an overseas student at the University of Wollongong in 2002. On his last day in the country, he met his future wife.

He returned to Australia the next year on a working holiday visa and taught in the state system.

The couple then returned to Canada and De Vuono taught in elementary schools, teaching students the equivalent of Years 5 to 8. He was also a physical and health education specialist teacher, teaching students in K-8, as well as a short stint as teacher in charge (acting principal).

Last year De Vuono, who now has an eight year old and two year old twins, returned to teach in Queensland as part of the exchange program.

“That’s when we decided Australia was for us and we wanted to raise our children here,” De Vuono said.

“My wife is from Kiama, so we moved back down here.”

De Vuono started work at St John’s Catholic Primary School in Dapto as a specialist STEM teacher three days a week and classroom teacher two days a week.

He was disappointed to be classified as a beginning teacher and faced with the accreditation to Proficient process.

“I was very pleased to find out there might be an option after I spoke with IEU representatives following the workshop.”

When he contacted the Diocese of Wollongong they had to create new paperwork to process his claim, but things move quickly.

“They were very understanding to my situation. With the approval of my principal, the Diocese approved my application for proficiency straight away.

After that I just filled out a quick form with NESA and sent it to them. The Diocese have been great, very helpful”

De Vuono is also one of the first teachers to benefit from new provisions in the EA which recognises overseas teaching experience.