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Professional Practice and Professional Boundary Training for Teachers

The Teachers Registration Board of South Australia  is calling for Expressions of Interest from providers of Professional Practice and Professional Boundary training for teachers

The Board has a duty pursuant to the Teachers Registration and Standards Act 2004 (the Act) to establish and maintain a system of registration of teachers. Importantly, the Board maintains professional standards for teachers with a view to safeguarding the public interest by ensuring the teaching profession is of high quality and its members are both competent educators, and fit and proper persons to have the care of children. 

In fulfilment of these functions, the Board is given the ability to screen, monitor and assess the suitability of people to be, or continue to be, registered as teachers.

Pursuant to section 37(1) of the Act the Board receives notifications from employers if a practising teacher is dismissed, or resigns, in response to allegations of unprofessional conduct.

Notifications as to teacher conduct are also received from South Australia Police and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions pursuant to sections 50 and 51 of the Act respectively. Further, self-notifications are received from teachers pursuant to section 24(2) of the Act and by way of declaration made at time of applying to renew their registration by responding to questions regarding their fitness and propriety. The Board also receives complaints from members of the public.

The Registrar has a duty to assess all allegations pertaining to a teacher’s behaviour, both past and present, for the purpose of determining whether there is a basis for the making of a complaint before the Board requiring disciplinary action against a teacher.

As part of the Registrar’s assessment and depending upon of the nature and gravity of the alleged conduct, the Registrar can determine to:

  1. take no action; or
  2. issue the teacher with a letter of advice; or
  3. issue the teacher with a letter of warning; or
  4. lay a Complaint to the Board pursuant to section 35 of the Act alleging unprofessional conduct and upon which an Inquiry into that conduct will commence.

Separately, the Board may commence its own Inquiry into unprofessional conduct.

A high proportion of “behaviour” notifications to the Board involve teachers crossing professional boundaries with students.  Some boundary breaches are low level and may result in letters of advice or letters of warning being issued by the Registrar. More serious matters may necessitate instigation of formal disciplinary action.

Previously a course offered by Flinders University entitled ‘Ethics in Education’ was utilised by the Board to inform teachers as to best practice.  This course is no longer presented.

In SA there is a “gap” in available courses/training the Board can recommend to teachers who require upskilling in this area.

The Board is inviting organisations who are interested in submitting a proposal offering either and/ or both:

  • firstly, remote learning by an on-line, short course training (ie maximum 2-3 hours); or
  • secondly, face-to-face “one to one” tailored training;

to teachers who have been referred to such courses by the Board. 

Both types of training should address types of boundary breaches with a focus on acceptable professional boundaries.

However, and significantly, the Board has identified a real need for the second type of training which would provide specific training around an identified conduct breach as notified to the Board and which breach necessitates clearer teacher understanding of why it poses risk to best teacher practice.  A report on the teacher’s participation and insight may also be required.

It would be expected the training would focus on the specific issue, including self-reflection and self-awareness and encompass matters which form the foundation of the teaching profession, as informed by the documents referred below:

Please note that in usual circumstances the teacher will be expected to bear the cost associated with this training.

Should your organisation be interested in submitting a proposal for either training opportunity, please provide your proposal by close of business on 30 September 2020 to:

Jo Hodgson
A/Manager Investigations Unit
Teachers Registration Board
PO Box 3649
RUNDLE MALL SA 5000

If you require any further information, please contact Jo Hodgson on 8226 8176 or email jo.hodgson@trb.sa.edu.au