The competence process
The Education Council’s Triage Committee can, if their initial assessment of a report or complaint raises an issue about a teacher’s competence, refer the issue to a Competence Assessor. The Assessor will investigate and may try to reach an agreement with the teacher to place some conditions on the teacher’s work.
The Competence Assessor can also refer the case on to the Competence Authority, which has the power to impose conditions. The Authority can also refer the case to the Education Council, which can cancel the teacher’s registration.
This isn’t a disciplinary process. The purpose of the competence process is to assess whether or not the teacher is competent (as measured against the Practising Teacher Criteria). If the teacher is found not to be competent, steps can be taken to improve their performance. In some cases, however, the teacher’s practising certificate may be cancelled.
The Competence Assessor’s investigation
When an issue is assigned to a Competence Assessor, the teacher is informed about the next steps. The teacher’s current employer is also informed.
If the teacher is currently employed by a school or early childhood centre, and the Assessor is satisfied the employer can deal with the competence issue, the Assessor will liaise with the school or centre.
If the Assessor decides to investigate, the teacher is given a chance to comment on the information the Assessor receives, and to provide relevant evidence.
The Competence Assessor writes a report when they’ve finished their investigation. If the report finds the teacher hasn’t reached the required level of competence, the report will make recommendations for what needs to be done.
The teacher is given a copy of the report, and again they’re given an opportunity to comment.
What happens after the Competence Assessor’s investigation?
If the Assessor recommends that conditions be placed on the teacher’s practising certificate, or authority to teach, they can work with the teacher to reach an agreement about these conditions. This could also include recording conditions on the Teachers’ Register (“annotating” the register). If the teacher doesn’t agree to the conditions, the Assessor can refer their report on to the Competence Authority (see below).
If, however, the Competence Assessor recommends cancelling the teacher’s practising certificate, they can refer their report directly to the Education Council for it to consider (see below).
The Competence Assessor can also refer the teacher to the impairment process if the Assessor thinks a health issue or other problem may be affecting the teacher’s ability to teach. To read about this process, click here.
The Assessor can also recommend no further action.
The Competence Authority and its powers
If the Competence Assessor refers the teacher to the Competence Authority, the teacher will be notified and given the opportunity to provide the Authority with written submissions, and also appear in person in front of the Authority. The teacher has the right to be represented by a lawyer or other advocate.
The Competence Authority will meet to consider the Competence Assessor’s report and the teacher’s comments and written submissions. The meeting will include at least three members of the Authority.
If the Competence Authority is satisfied the teacher isn't competent to teach, it can decide to:
- place conditions on the teacher’s practising certificate or authority to teach
- annotate the public online Teachers’ Register by recording a brief note against the teachers’ registration or authority to teach, or
- take no further action.
The Competence Authority may refer the issue back to the Competence Assessor if it needs more information. It can also refer the teacher to the Education Council if it considers cancellation is appropriate, or refer the teacher to the impairment process if it’s concerned a health or other problem may be affecting the teacher’s ability to teach.
The Education Council monitors whether the teacher is complying with any conditions imposed on the teacher. When we are satisfied the teacher has met the conditions, we can release the teacher from the conditions.
The Education Council and its power to cancel
If a report is referred to the Education Council by a Competence Assessor or Competence Authority, the Council can, in the most serious cases, cancel the teacher’s practising certificate or authority to teach.
The Education Council can also take any of those lesser steps that could have been taken by the Competence Authority, including placing conditions on the teacher’s practice, annotating the teacher’s registration or authority to teach, and referring them to an impairment process.
Notification of the outcome of the competence process
Once the competence process has ended, the following people must be informed of the outcome:
- the teacher
- the teacher’s current employer, and
- the person who made the original report or complaint (if this wasn’t the employer).