22 September 2023

Issue fixed to ensure Canberra educators with invalid registrations can legally be teaching

| Claire Fenwicke
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school teacher in the classroom

Changes have swiftly passed the Legislative Assembly to ensure Canberra’s educators aren’t teaching on invalid registrations. Photo: File.

Law changes have been passed through the Legislative Assembly to fix an error that meant more than 900 of Canberra’s educators were teaching on invalid registrations.

The amendments were passed unanimously by the Territory’s politicians just two days after they were introduced late last week.

Shadow Education Minister Jeremy Hanson said while “unusual circumstances” created the need for the amended legislation, it was important to resolve the issue quickly.

“These circumstances appear to be no one’s fault, but nonetheless have direct consequences that must be addressed,” he said.

It was revealed the issue with the Teacher Quality Institute Act 2010 was discovered through an unrelated case in the ACT Civil and Administrative Court (ACAT).

The Teacher Quality Institute (TQI) is in charge of provisional and full registrations of Canberra’s teachers and has been doing so in accordance with national standards.

However, it was discovered that by doing this its actions were actually breaching the terms of the ACT legislation and associated regulations.

As the TQI has been handling registrations since 2011, a retrospective clause was included in the amendments to rectify any issues with previous registrations.

READ ALSO Reviews of two ACT schools find ‘targeted harassment’ of teachers, ‘physical aggression’, staffing issues

Greens Education spokesperson Johnathan Davis added these amendments also fixed previous provisions that had impacted teachers who had gone on extended leave, including parental leave or sick leave.

There had also originally been a time limit on how long someone could remain at provisional status.

“Strangely, the issue is really that a number of teachers had actually taught too much to be eligible for provisional registration,” Mr Davis said.

“[This can] best be described as a clerical error.”

It is illegal for someone to teach on an invalid registration and for schools to employ them.

Education Minister Yvette Berry these quick changes would provide certainty to teachers and the community that everything was now legal.

“[This] was simply to address a technical error in our legislation – teachers have done nothing wrong and there is no safety or educational risk to our students,” she said.

“We brought forward this legislation in line with the nationally consistent registration framework, as well as our current practice, that TQI has been operating with since 2011.”

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