Hon Elizabeth Constable MA(Syd) DipEd(UNE) MEd(Harvard) PhD(UWA) MLA

Hon Elizabeth Constable MA(Syd) DipEd(UNE) MEd(Harvard) PhD(UWA) MLA

Former Minister for Education

    Minister overhauls teacher registration

    1/12/2011 12:00 AM
    • Teacher Registration Board to replace WACOT
    • Move follows widespread concern among teachers

    Education Minister Liz Constable today introduced a Bill to State Parliament that would replace the teacher registration body known as WACOT, and give the responsibility to a new body, the Teacher Registration Board.

    “A review of the WACOT Act 2010 found high levels of dissatisfaction because teachers felt that the West Australian College of Teaching was not able to deliver what was promised to the profession,” Dr Constable said.

    The review found that many of the problems encountered were the result of inadequacies with the WACOT Act, introduced by the previous Labor government.

    The new Teacher Registration Board will have seven members - including the chair and deputy chair - appointed by the Minister for their qualifications, expertise and experience.  As with other registration Acts, the Minister will now be able to give directions to the board.

    “Under the current WACOT Act the Minister has no say in what WACOT does, virtually no say in who is appointed to the 19-member board, no say in the appointment of the chair and no power to give directions to the board,” the Minister said.

    “I have been able to give advice, but the board is not obliged to take it.”

    The new board will be responsible for teacher registration, dealing with situations where a teacher’s fitness and propriety is called into question, and ensuring that teacher education programs are of a high standard.

    Teachers will have access to the State Administrative Tribunal in situations where they are not happy with a registration decision or when their fitness and propriety have been called into question.  At present their only avenue of appeal is to the District Court.

    Dr Constable said categories of teacher registration would remain similar to those currently in place, though limited registration had been refined, and a new category called Non-practising would be introduced to cater for teachers who took a break from the classroom but who wanted to maintain their registration.

    “The decision to make these changes has not been taken lightly,” she said.  “But the new Act should be warmly received by teachers, and under the new Bill, the best interests of students are paramount in all decision making.”

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