Working to ensure a fair accreditation process

Gloria Taylor
Deputy Secretary

Since teacher accreditation was first proposed in NSW and the ACT, the Union has lobbied (and continues to lobby) for teachers to be accredited fairly, properly and equitably.

We fought for amendments to the legislation to allow for regulations that give teachers further opportunities to be accredited.

The reaccreditation process established through regulation now allows for some, who for a range of specific reasons, have been unsuccessful in the first process, to have the opportunity to achieve rightful recognition.

The IEU now sits on the committee empowered to examine the “ceasing of provisional and conditional accreditation of teachers and conditions for a re-accreditation period.”

The need for this committee stems from the establishment of the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) on January 1, 2014. Under revised legislation, the Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards Act 2013, BOSTES has assumed the previous functions of the Board of Studies NSW and the NSW Institute of Teachers.

The development of regulations to support the Act is critical in terms of developing clear understandings and processes by which teachers can have their accreditation ‘ceased’ and how application is made to be reaccredited and the conditions surrounding this process.

The significance of the process is considerable, because when a teacher is not accredited they cannot be employed to teach in a NSW school.

Employers must inform about requirements

Members will need to ensure that they are aware of their own accreditation time frame and the IEU will hold BOSTES to their charter; that is providing information and resources and also insisting that Teacher Accreditation Authorities (TAAs) have the responsibility to inform employees of their specific accreditation requirements.

Mechanisms to ensure that members are aware their accreditation may be in jeopardy have also been sought by the IEU. This would take the form of formal notification by mail and email, hence the importance of maintaining contact details with BOSTES. Reaccreditation is rigorous and will likely involve collecting evidence, participating in professional development and being given feedback against the Professional Teaching Standards.

The IEU is also strongly of the view that Teacher Accreditation Authorities (TAAs) must have appeal processes at either individual school or system level and that members with serious grievances (related to process) must be able to seek redress at the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).

Complex it may well be but the development of regulations is critical to the fair functioning of BOSTES and the expectations that IEU members have of BOSTES.

The propensity for members to encounter accreditation complexities in such a varied sector cannot be underestimated. Hence the endeavour to seek clarity at this juncture and to ensure that the onus on the individual is supported through “fair processes, notifications and appeals mechanisms by and within both employers and BOSTES”.

The IEU will keep members informed as to the final policy position reached by this committee.