Page 4748 - Week 15 - Tuesday, 13 December 2005

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professions. The department will consult with key stakeholders including the non-government sector and teacher unions, in examining registration issues related specifically to the ACT before proceeding on compulsory teacher registration.

When Ms Gallagher tabled the government’s response she undertook to report to the Assembly prior to the end of the year.

The primary purpose of any system of professional registration is to provide the community with assurance that the profession is operating according to a set of standards that are both high and transparent; that people working as members of the teaching profession are appropriately qualified and competent; and that incompetent practitioners are identified and appropriately managed.

In summary, the introduction of a registration system will provide the community, parents, students and the teaching profession itself with greater confidence. That confidence is gleaned from the knowledge that the registration process will articulate standards that maintain and add value to the quality of teaching across all sectors in the ACT.

In the latter half of 2005, the Department of Education and Training embarked on a process of awareness raising, with the establishment of a key stakeholder forum known as the interim reference group. This group comprises representatives from the non-government and government education sectors and teacher unions from both sectors. To inform the work of this group, consultation has been undertaken with representatives from key stakeholder groups, including the Government Schools Education Council, the Non-Government Schools Education Council, the Parents and Citizens Council, the Indigenous Education Consultative Board, the University of Canberra, the Australian Catholic University and the Board of Senior Secondary Studies.

The key themes and the associated considerations that have emerged to date from the consultation with key stakeholder groups include, firstly, the role of any teacher registration body. Will it be a body that sets qualification standards and issues practising certificates to teachers wishing to work in ACT schools or will it have regulatory responsibility for things such as a code of conduct of teachers or a role in disciplinary processes? Secondly, recognising the link between registration and professional standards; acknowledging the challenge in developing a registration system that can articulate standards for different stages of a teacher’s career.

Thirdly, ongoing requirements for professional development in the context of ensuring that a career in the profession is seen as a continuum, with the regular updating of relevant skills. Fourthly, accreditation of preservice teacher education. This will require working closely with the University of Canberra and other teacher-training universities on the requirements of the teaching profession in the ACT. Fifthly, the cost of establishing an independent registration authority. Given the size of this jurisdiction, careful consideration will need to be given to options on infrastructure, shape, size and accessibility.

Sixthly, the type and scope of the registration authority and the relationship with employers; how best to put an appropriate structure in place that recognises the role of employers of teachers and the setting and maintaining of professional standards.

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