Enhancing Teacher Registration
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Enhancing Teacher Registration
What has changed?
The Teachers Registration and Standards Act 2004 has been amended to better serve the South Australian teaching profession and protect the best interests of the 300,000 learners in its care.
Changes to the Act come into effect from 1 July 2021 following the passing of the Teachers Registration and Standards (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2020 in October last year. These amendments, which follow extensive consultation with teachers, employers, unions and the broader community, will help the Teachers Registration Board protect the integrity of the teaching profession and ensure only fit and proper persons have the care of children. The Board’s functions have been expanded to promote and facilitate quality teaching and leadership in schools and early childhood settings.
The amended Act provides the framework for how teacher registration is managed and regulated in SA. Aspects of the Act that were not the focus of the Amendment Bill remain unchanged in the updated legislation.
Under the amended Act
• A more flexible approach to registration gives teachers five-year registration terms, instead of the current three-year terms, and offers a choice of paying fees upfront or annually.
• Representation on the Board for pre-school teachers is now required by the Act, while a minimum of six board members must be practising teachers.
• The Board provides greater support to the teaching profession through the assessment and accreditation of Initial Teacher Education programs and the commissioning of research and data collection.
• The Board recognises Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers through the recording of a teacher’s HALT status on the Register of Teachers and certificates of registration.
• An amendment allows for a Code of Conduct to be developed by the Board in consultation with stakeholders, outlining the professional and personal behaviour and professional competence expected of teachers and Special Authority holders.
• Strengthened child safety measures ensure the welfare and best interests of children are the paramount considerations of the Board.
• A new registration condition clarifies a teacher’s obligation to notify the Board if they are dismissed or resign in response to allegations of incompetence.
• Board committees are enhanced by the inclusion of qualified non-board members to provide professional assistance and expertise when required.
• Special Authority to Teach holders are required to meet the same rigorous obligations as registered teachers, including notifying the Board of events which may prohibit them from teaching.
• New provisions/powers allow for the suspension of a teacher who fails to comply with requests for information relating to a complaint.
Moving to a five-year term: A simple process for renewing teachers
Example: If you choose to pay your annual fee upfront for two years, you will pay a $100 Application Fee, $25 for a Criminal History Check and $220 to cover 2 years’ annual fees; a total of $345. After two years you will need to make the next annual fee payment. You will not need to pay another Application Fee for five years.
Paying your annual registration fees upfront will avoid CPI increases. If you fail to pay your annual fee, your registration will lapse; you will be considered non-financial and will be unable to teach until outstanding fees are paid.
For more information visit the Fees page.
Registering to teach: Where to start for new applicants
Not registered to teach in SA? You will need to apply for registration before you can be employed as a teacher. The application process can take four to six weeks to complete.
Example: When registering as a teacher for the first time you will pay a $175 Application Fee and $25 for a Criminal History Check. You can choose to pay your annual fee each year or upfront for the five-year term. For the full five years you will pay $550, plus $175, plus $25, making the total $750.
Paying your annual fees upfront will avoid CPI increases. If you fail to pay your annual fee, your registration will lapse; you will be considered non-financial and will be unable to teach until outstanding fees are paid.
For more information visit the Fees page
When to notify the TRB
If you are a registered teacher in South Australia, you have legal obligations to notify the Board of certain changes in your situation. It is an offence to fail to tell us or to provide inaccurate information. Changes to the Act now emphasise the importance of notifying when allegations of teacher incompetence are made, regardless of how it is described. Employing authorities and agencies also have reporting obligations under the Act.
What are your obligations?
You must notify the Board, within 28 days, of a change of name or address.
It is a condition of registration that you must notify the Board – in writing, within 14 days – if you:
• are charged or convicted of an offence for which imprisonment is a penalty, or any offence involving illicit drugs, violence, sexual or indecent behaviour, dishonesty or cruelty to animals;
• are dismissed or resign in response to allegations of unprofessional conduct;
• are dismissed or resign following allegations of incompetence;
• are dismissed or resign following allegations of improper conduct relating to a child.
And, within 14 days of becoming aware, if:
• you become a prohibited person under the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016;
• more than five years have elapsed since your last SA Working with Children Check.
An employer of a practising teacher must notify the Board within 7 days if a teacher resigns or is dismissed because:
• they are a prohibited person under the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016;
• they do not have a current SA Working with Children Check;
• they are the subject of an allegation of unprofessional conduct;
• when issues of incompetence have arisen.
Employers must also notify the Board in relation to a teacher if:
• their capacity to teach has become impaired because of illness or disability;
• an allegation of unprofessional conduct has been made against them;
• they are not, in the opinion of the employer, a fit and proper person.
Employers must also notify the Board if a former employee, in the 12 months after ceasing employment, is the subject of an unprofessional conduct allegation.
Unprofessional Conduct includes behaviour connected to the teaching profession which does not satisfy the standard of behaviour generally expected of a teacher. It also includes failure to notify as required by your registration conditions.
Improper Conduct involves behaviour that is not in line with the standard expected of teachers and can involve boundary violations, criminal activity, dishonesty and failures to advise of significant pre-history.
Incompetence can involve a range of behaviours, including ones resulting from a health impairment (a physical or mental condition or disorder, including substance abuse or dependence).
The TRB encourages all teachers in South Australia to abide by the Code of Ethics and to respect professional boundaries. Going forward, and after wide consultation with teachers, there will be a Code of Conduct to guide teachers regarding their professional obligations to one another, learners, and the wider school community that will apply across all employment sectors.