The Teachers Registration Board (the Board) regulates the teaching profession in South Australia.
The Board is created by the Teachers Registration and Standards Act 2004 (the Act) and is an independent statutory authority. The Board can only exercise the powers in the Act, and it has the responsibilities set out in the Act.
The Board is established as a specialist body and members are appointed with a view that they will bring specialist expertise to their responsibilities as Board members.
The Board is made up of 16 members appointed by the Governor of South Australia. Members of the Board are nominated by the Minister for Education, Department of Education and Childrenís Services, Australian Education Union, Association of Independent Schools, Catholic Education Office, the Independent Education Union, the Universities of the State. At least half of the members of the Board must be teachers, one member must be a parent of a school student representing the community and one must be a lawyer (section 9).
There is a Registrar of the Board who manages the staff, implements the policies and decisions of the Board, is responsible for the Register of Teachers and for other matters delegated by the Board. The Registrar has an independent statutory role in relation to the investigations of complaints and grievances and exercises a prosecutorial discretion. When acting in an investigative and prosecutorial role the Registrar acts independently of the Board and is not directed by the Board in relation to the conduct of a specific case.
The Registrar has the power to investigate the conduct, competence and capacity of a teacher (section 34).
Professional Conduct and Registration
For registration purposes to be registered, a teacher must have certain qualifications and experience, have completed a mandatory notification training course relating to child abuse and neglect, consent to a national criminal history record check (police check) and be a fit and proper person to be a teacher.
The Board may impose conditions on a teacherís registration. Section 24 of the Act describes the conditions which apply to all teachers. These conditions are detailed below and on this website under the heading Obligation to Report and are included on the 'Certificate of Teacher Registration' which is issued to each registered teacher:
if charged or convicted of a specified offence e.g.
- Any offence for which imprisonment may be a penalty (whether or not a penalty of imprisonment was imposed)
- Illicit drugs
- Sexual or indecent behaviour
- Cruelty to animals
- if dismissed or resigns from employment as a practising teacher in response to allegations of unprofessional conduct
- if dismissed or resigns from employment in response to allegations of improper conduct relating to a child
Taking Away or Changing a Teacher's Registration
Registration can be taken away or changed as a result of disciplinary or incapacity proceedings.
Once a formal complaint has been laid (generally by the Registrar) outlining the particulars of the allegations, the Board holds a formal Inquiry to determine whether or not there is cause for disciplinary action or whether the teacherís capacity to teach is seriously impaired by an illness or disability affecting the persons behaviour or competence as a teacher.
Disciplinary proceedings can be taken against a teacher if: the teacher has improperly obtained registration (for example provided a fraudulent certificate of qualification); the teacher is guilty of unprofessional conduct; the teacher is not a fit and proper person to be a registered teacher; or the teacherís registration has been suspended, or cancelled by another teacher regulatory authority (section 33).
Unprofessional conduct means: a breach of the Act, a breach of a condition of registration, incompetence, or disgraceful or improper conduct (section 3). Disgraceful or improper conduct is a term which has been used for a long time. It has a special legal meaning and the Board is guided by the law when deciding if a teacher is guilty of unprofessional conduct.
The holding of an Inquiry is delegated by the Board to a committee of the Board. One person must be a legal practitioner and one person must be a practising teacher. All parties to proceedings are entitled to be represented by legal counsel. The Board is not a court so does not use technical rules of a court. However, the Board is a Statutory Authority and is required to follow the law of Statutory Authorities. To some degree the procedures to be followed at an Inquiry are determined by the Act or constrained by the principles of natural justice (rule of common fairness) however subject to this the Board may determine its own procedures (section 45). The procedure used at an Inquiry may vary depending on the nature of the proceedings e.g. Part 5 or Part 7 of the Act.
All matters must be proved on the balance of probabilities after considering all evidence. The Board must provide a written statement of reasons for its decision.
The purpose of imposing disciplinary action is the protection of the public.
As a result of disciplinary proceedings the Board may reprimand a teacher, or order the payment of a fine up to $5000, impose conditions on a teacherís registration, suspend the registration, cancel the teacherís registration or disqualify the teacher from being registered (section 35). Whatever order is made it must be what is required to protect the public interest.
There is a right of appeal against a decision of the Board to the District Court (section 49).
For further information please contact the staff of the Investigation Unit by telephone on +61 8 8226 5984.