Australia Wide

Proposed National Working with Children Check (WWCC)

On 17 August, the Royal Commission (RC) into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse released its Working With Children Checks Report.

The Report recommended that a national WWCC model be implemented within 12 months of the publication of the report. The RC argued that a standardised approach would allow WWCC’s to be portable across jurisdictions, deal with key aspects of screening in the same way and eliminate the opportunity for persons to work in locations with less rigorous checks.

While the Union is not unsympathetic to the call for a national approach to child protection matters, we are not convinced that it requires a uniform system of employment screening. There are problems with some of the current systems and we would not like to see the worst feature of each regime merged into one federal regime. Not all elements of current systems are necessary to achieve child protection objectives.

An overly zealous approach could compromise employees’ rights without gaining improvements in child protection.

The Union is responding to the Report.

ACT Teacher Registration and the Code of Conduct

The Union met recently with Joy Burch, the ACT Minister for Education and Training to raise matters affecting our members in the ACT including issues around teacher registration.

As a condition of teacher registration or permit to teach in the ACT, teachers are required to comply with a Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct, approved by the ACT Government, includes principles that teachers must, at all times, demonstrate in their professional practice. “Respect for others” is an example of one of the broad principles.

The Union advised the Minister that we were concerned about the breadth and vagueness of Code requirements, given that a breach of the Code was a breach of a registration requirement and could lead to revocation by the ACT Teacher Quality Institute (TQI) of a teacher’s right to teach in any school in the ACT, with a flow on to other jurisdictions.

The Union is seeking that in considering an alleged breach, TQI should take into account the nature and seriousness of the conduct concerned, the frequency of the conduct and how recent the conduct was. This is to ensure that trivial one-off matters do not destroy a teacher’s career. We are also seeking that matters not relating to a teacher’s professional work (that is their private behaviour outside of the school context) should not be considered.

The Minister listened to our concerns and we have agreed to outline specific proposals in writing.

Tackling Occupational Violence – Guidelines to be implemented in all Catholic schools

Does your school have both a clear parental code of conduct and a policy on the expected behaviour of students which clearly outline unacceptable behaviours? Do you have an effective system for monitoring students with known behavioural problems? Is your staff trained in prevention and intervention strategies for managing aggressive/potentially violent behaviour of a student or parent? Do staff know how to undertake a risk assessment and draw up a management plan for a student with violent behaviour?

As part of the negotiations of the previous 2008 Catholic Agreement, the IEU and the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria signed a Memorandum of Understanding to examine the incidence of occupational violence in Catholic schools with a view to identifying effective practices in dealing with violent and aggressive students and parents/Guardians.

The new guidelines released by the CECV earlier this year are a result of this consultation with IEU. The guidelines are holistic, involving preventative, interventionary and post incident practices. The aim is to assess risk, take measures to mitigate and remove the risks, manage incidents of violence and aggression effectively and enact post-incident procedures and support in the aftermath of a violent incident.

These guidelines have had a long gestation but the Safe and Sound Practice Guidelines (Occupational Violence) provide schools with an important set of principles and practical tools for dealing with the violent and aggressive behaviour of students and parents/guardians.

Western Australia
Fixing some bad connections

Teachers in WA Catholic and independent schools continue to have significant concerns about the level of meaningful connection between the Teacher Registration Board of WA (TRBwa) and the profession.

The object of the Teacher Registration Act 2012 is “to give paramount consideration to the best interests of school children in Western Australia”.

Supposedly on that basis the TRB has consistently declined to consult effectively with the IEU in regard to their implementation of a raft of practices and interpretations of the Act and regulations.

On a positive note at a recent meeting between the IEU and TRB the TRB committed to regular substantive meetings and to respond to concerns the IEU has raised about the 64% increase in renewal of registration fees.

The IEU will also be meeting with the Director of the Investigations and Compliance Branch to gain an insight into the decision making process for disciplinary matters.

Ready for registration renewal

The Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) is preparing to conduct audits of around 70,000 practising teachers across the state as part of the registration renewal process that occurs each five years.

The audit will focus on the continuing professional development logs of randomly selected teachers regardless of whether they are teaching full time, part time, supply teaching or not teaching at all.

The renewal of registration ensures fully registered teachers are committed to maintaining high standards of professional practice and conduct.

To meet the requirements of the audit, IEU members need to provide evidence of participation in suitable CPD activities such as certificates of attendance.

Forms of evidence may vary and the QCT recommends keeping a log of your CPD online.

To find out when you need to renew, you can log on to the QCT website and search the register, or alternatively, check the details on your Registration Card and Certificate.

To prepare for such an audit it is your responsibility to record the CPD you undertake in a format that meets QCT requirements, keep records and evidence for 12 months following renewal of registration and make the evidence available as required by QCT for auditing purposes.

For more information on renewal and recording CPD, visit

Northern Territory
Members need to be prepared for auditing by the Teacher Registration Board (TRB).

The audits happen every five years and are due to commence in early 2016 in the Northern Territory to ensure teachers conform to AITSL’s Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and criteria. Director of the NT Teacher Registration Board, Maree Garrigan, said any teacher who has been granted renewal of full registration can be subject to an audit.

“Teachers who are selected for audit will be notified in the first school term immediately following the completion of the renewal process. Those selected will be asked to present their evidence to support having met the requirements by the end of the first term.”

Required evidence includes:

•Currency of practice of a minimum of 180 days

•A minimum of 100 hours of professional learning over the five year period prior to the application for registration renewal, as measured against the standards

• Fit and proper person (results of a National Criminal History Check no more than 2.5 years prior to expiry of their category of Full Registration).

Teachers who have been subject to the audit will be advised of the results in writing via email.

A full list of renewal requirements can be found at

South Australia
Balance needed for trade trainers

For some time, it has been possible for people without teacher registration to gain a special authority to teach in SA schools under a range of conditions and restrictions. Some require the undertaking of study towards a teaching qualification and some are subject or site specific.

Currently the following categories may apply for a Special Authority: unable to fill an advertised position; religious/spiritual leaders; instrumental music teachers; Anangu education (Indigenous); exchange teachers (for one year) and early childhood teachers.

Arguably, trade trainers delivering VET in schools are not employed as teachers ‘delivering secondary education’ under the Act. But under the current SA Certificate of Education (SACE) up to 150 credits toward a total of 200 can be earned through VET subjects.

The IEU has readily accepted an invitation to participate in a Teacher Registration Board (TRB) working party to provide advice as to the conditions which should be imposed on those delivering VET in schools.

To totally deregulate the area would not be acceptable as there would be no quality assurance to the person’s trade skills, teaching skills or propriety. Similarly it would be impractical to expect that a trade trainer would have both current industry skills and full teaching qualifications.

There will need to be a balance achieved as it is impractical to upskill existing teachers to be experienced qualified tradespersons just as it is impractical to expect that a qualified tradesperson would leave their trade to spend four years training to be a teacher.

Review of the Education Act

Since the latter part of last year, the IEU along with other key education stakeholders has been involved in the Tasmanian Government’s process of reviewing the Education Act.

A discussion paper was released late last year outlining themes and possible options for reform. The consultation document posed a number of questions around the functions and scope of the Act.

The Government received 230 submissions in response to the discussion paper. A Stakeholder Reference Group was set up, along with four Working Groups who have been discussing issues associated with the major themes.

The Government will consider a number of changes and the IEU expects, along with other stakeholders, that there will be further extensive consultation before any legislative changes are made.