BOSTES called a working party on 18 March to scope changes needed to the Provisional and Conditional Accreditation Policy, which was attended by IEU representatives.
NSW is inching closer to all teachers being accredited by BOSTES (1 January 2018).
The requirement to hold a Working with Children Check is also embraced by the policy: in 2016 for secondary teachers and 2017 for primary teachers (other than those new to teaching and those changing employers).
While challenges to administrative decisions can be made to the Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the availability of review processes at BOSTES level would provide potential solutions. Such reviews would need to be timely to ensure employment arrangements are not impacted upon.
The requirements of various undergraduate degrees (the subjects to be taken to teach various subject specialities) are also covered, as are refresher courses for those who have an absence from teaching of five years or more.
The regulations set out above place great onus on teachers and clarity of understanding is a positive dimension, but the importance of review mechanisms and clear avenues of appeal for IEU members are paramount.
Due to changes following the amendment to the Teacher Accreditation Act 2004 (NSW), another BOSTES working party met at a later date to discuss revocation and suspension of accreditation.
The intricacies of a teacher registration board (BOSTES) interacting with legislated protections for students, including child protection and teacher compliance with the Education Act, BOSTES Act and the Teacher Accreditation Act, mixing with industrial matters, calls for careful consideration of the implications for teachers.
Clarity is being sought by the Union as to when a Teacher Accreditation Authority (TAA) is required to suspend or revoke accreditation.
The possibility for disparity of thresholds in terms of determining when accreditation is suspended or revoked, without an ability to apply to BOSTES for reinstatement was stressed, as was the vagueness of guidelines provided to TAAs as to when and how to suspend/revoke.
The inappropriateness of using the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for most matters relating to accreditation was raised by the Union.
The Union also queried the fairness of suspending/revoking a teacher’s accreditation in relation to infractions of the law, such as speeding, that may have no bearing on a person’s ability to teach well and in line with the Standards.