Frequently Asked Questions
Being Employed as a Teacher in New Zealand
What do I need to be employed as a teacher?
You need to be a registered teacher who holds a current practising certificate. The practising certificate enables you to be lawfully employed in a teaching position. A current practising certificate is required for actual employment in teaching positions in free kindergartens, primary and secondary schools (state, integrated and independent schools) and kura. It is also required for most teaching positions in early childhood centres.
What is a Limited Authority to Teach?
In some cases you can hold a Limited Authority to Teach (LAT). If you hold a LAT you cannot be appointed to a permanent teaching position. LATs can only be used for employment in a fixed term role.
Unqualified teachers may apply for a Limited Authority to Teach (LAT) to be employed in a fixed term teaching position, if we consider you have either:
- skills and experience appropriate to advance the learning of students; or
- skills in an area where there is a shortage of certificated teachers.
It is illegal for a LAT holder to be permanently appointed to a teaching position. More about LATs
Who can be employed as a teacher?
We are responsible for granting registration and practising certificates to teachers who meet our requirements. You cannot be employed as a teacher if you don’t hold a current practising certificate, even if you are registered.
If you are working as a teacher in a free kindergarten, primary or secondary school (state, integrated and independent schools), or kura you must hold a current practising certificate. Most early childhood centres also require teachers with practising certificates.
Extension to teach
Am I eligible for an extension to teach?
You may be eligible if you:
- currently have an application for a practising certificate in with the Education Council, your registration has expired and you will be teaching beyond the 10 days allowed after the expiry of your practising certificate or your Limited Authority to Teach
- are applying for the first time for a practising certificate and have been asked to teach before this has been granted,
- are employed in a teaching position in a setting where holding a practising certificate is compulsory,
- are doing everything possible to complete you application but facing delays with information through no fault of your own.
What are the criteria for providing an extension to teach?
An extension can only be granted if:
- a formal application is received
- your professional leader has requested the application
- you are not under investigation and there are no concerns with your application.
Your professional leader must demonstrate they are aware of the nature and extent of the concerns if you are under investigation. If they make a request for an extension they must include a letter showing demonstrating they are aware and have taken steps to address them.
What if I’m a relief teacher?
You may be eligible for an extension but the extension only applies to the school where it was requested. If you need an extension for more than one school the professional leader of each school must apply.
How do I apply for an extension?
Graduating Teacher Standards
What are the Graduating Teacher Standards?
The Graduating Teacher Standards ensure an agreed national standard that graduating teachers must meet. These standards apply to all graduates whether they will be teaching in a school or early childhood centre, including all Māori medium settings. The Graduating Teacher Standards are included as part of the Council's definition of 'satisfactorily trained to teach'.
Principals and professional leaders have a clear set of standards on which to base expectations for new graduates and during practicum supervisors or associate teachers will have a clear set of competences they can measure against.
Teacher education providers must demonstrate new teaching programmes enable graduates to meet the Graduating Teacher Standards if they are to gain approval to run the programmes.
What are the benefits of Graduating Teacher Standards for students?
The Graduating Teacher Standards describe what you need to achieve to qualify as a teacher and enable you to apply for a provisional practising certificate. They describe what you will know, understand and be able to do, and the things you need to make you an effective teacher. Talk to your programme administrator for information about how the Graduating Teacher Standards apply to your programme.
If you have queries about the Graduating Teacher Standards, contact the Teacher Education team using one of the methods on the Contact Us page.
Induction of Provisionally Certificated Teachers
When can I apply for full certification?
You must complete two years of supervised teaching after becoming provisionally certificated. A recommendation and endorsement for full certification should be signed and dated only in the final term (or final six week block of teaching) of your induction and mentoring programme.
I’m not happy with the support I’m getting. What should I do?
Talk this over first with the mentor teacher responsible for your programme. It is important for you both to clarify your perceptions, expectations and needs. If the difficulty is still not resolved, discuss the situation with your professional leader. Refer to the Guidelines for Induction and Mentoring and Mentor Teachers for further advice or options to explore.
An adviser from School Support Services experienced with beginning teachers may also help. Following this, you may wish to contact your NZEI or PPTA field officer or counsellor to see what options are available. This highlights the need for everyone’s expectations to be understood before the programme starts, and to ensure programme evaluation is ongoing.
What should I do if the mentor teacher does not keep to the programme we agreed to?
Refer to the contract negotiated at the beginning of your induction and mentoring programme and expectations about frequency of meetings. Restate what needs to happen to make the induction and mentoring programme work for you. Problem-solve together ways in which your needs can be met. Your mentor teacher may need to review the resources available to them to fulfil the role. If these resources are inadequate, your mentor teacher will need to raise this with your principal or professional leader.
I am not getting any formal feedback on my teaching. What should I do?
Talk with your mentor teacher first. Formal feedback and reflection on your teaching is a really important part of your support programme. Your mentor teacher must regularly see you in action. If talking to your mentor teacher does not resolve the issue, approach your principal or professional leader. If that doesn’t work contact your NZEI or PPTA field officer.
My mentor teacher has moved away from my learning centre and is hard to contact. Can I change to another mentor teacher?
Although you should try to keep to the same mentor teacher throughout your induction and mentoring programme, there is no requirement for this to be the case. However, the fully certificated teacher who recommends you for full certification at the end of your programme must be certain you meet the requirements to be a fully certificated teacher. That means they must be familiar with your practice, have regularly observed you and provided feedback in relation to the Practising Teacher Criteria.
If you need a new mentor teacher near the end of your induction and mentoring programme, it may be better to delay your application for a full practising certificate by a couple of months so the new teacher can provide a fair appraisal of your practice.
It’s important to keep all your documentation relating to your induction and mentoring programme. This way your new mentor teacher can assess your work so far. It may also be appropriate for your new mentor teacher to contact your previous teacher to exchange professional information about you. This should only happen with your knowledge and permission.
What if I need a new mentor teacher?
If you need help to find a new mentor teacher, you can:
- Ask your colleagues or other teachers in your community
- Contact organisations which support teacher certification, such as Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand, NZEI, PPTA or your teacher education provider.
How much documentation do I need to keep?
You may be asked to send evidence of your two year induction and mentoring programme at the time you apply for full certification. A range of documentation will be expected to show evidence the support programme has been in place over at least two years. For that reason it’s a good idea to provide documentation from the beginning, middle and end of each year of your programme. Ensure all documentation is labelled with the relevant date of completion.
The exact number of documents will depend on the structure of your programme and frequency of your meetings with your mentor teacher. You may, for example, have four formal observations completed for your teaching over one year, or you may have eight or more in addition to more informal observations.
If you are asked to send evidence of your support programme, you will need to provide evidence you met with your mentor teacher regularly. This must show you received formative/summative feedback, observations of your teaching were conducted throughout the support programme and you reflected on your teaching regularly and participated in professional development activities.
We want to see evidence of a coherent two-year programme of induction and mentoring and ‘hear' your ‘voice' and the ‘voice' of your mentor teacher throughout the programme. This could mean commentary about lessons, or reflections by each of you on activities or professional development you have completed.
My mentor teacher does not teach the subjects that I do. What can I do?
Discuss this in the first instance with your mentor teacher and/or professional leader. You may be able to arrange for additional support in your area from an experience teacher at a nearby school or from a specialist advisor from School Support Services. This person could assist with your teaching subject while your coordinator supervises your general programme. Joining your subject association may also provide you with support materials and advice.
I work in a remote area and there is not much professional development available. What can I do?
Professional development is not solely about attendance at courses. You can engage in professional development by reading online papers, books and blogs. There are also very good courses held in school holiday time, including those run through the Teachers' Refresher Course Committee (TRCC) where you can get subsidies for travel and accommodation.
You can also use classroom release time and your beginning teacher release time to attend professional development. It’s important to embed the theory and ideas you learn by reflecting on, and discussing, your professional development as you progress with your induction and mentoring programme.
How can I get a higher level of discussion going in my induction and mentoring programme?
Refer to the Guidelines for Induction and Mentoring and Mentor Teachers for help with lifting the quality of your induction and mentoring programme, and talk to your mentor and professional leader about your expectations. You can also engage in action research, join subject associations, access readings, and think about reflective questions generated by the Practising Teacher Criteria. Your relationship with your mentor teacher is only one part of the professional community you join as a practising teacher.
Do I have to be employed at the same school/ centre for the duration of my induction and mentoring programme?
No but if you move to another school/ centre take records of your programme with you and make sure your new employer knows you must continue with your programme. You also need to be employed in a teaching position of at least 0.5 FTTE within the general education system, and be teaching in minimum block of six weeks. If you are employed in a casual relief position, a teaching position of less than 0.5 or for less than six weeks, the time doesn’t count towards full certification.
I have two part time teaching positions. Can I combine my hours to meet the minimum time of 0.5 FTTE?
Yes but you will need to make sure your supervising teacher is familiar with your teaching in both centres. If your mentor teacher is based in one centre, you will need to arrange times for formal observations of your teaching to be completed. You must also have follow-up meetings to discuss your goals, follow-up on goals previously set and receive feedback on your teaching. Your mentor teacher must regularly observe you teaching at both centres to determine you are demonstrating the Practising Teacher Criteria.
What if I’ve been provisionally certificated for six years?
You will not need to repeat your initial teacher education programme but you will need to complete our Teacher Education Refresh programme if you need to apply for another provisional practising certificate six years or more after you registered. Teachers are expected to meet the requirements to be issued with a full practising certificate within six years of becoming registered. Teachers who are not able to become fully certificated after six years of being registered may apply for another provisional practising certificate after completing the TER programme.
The TER programme is designed to update your professional knowledge and practice if you have limited teaching experience within the last six years.
What should I do if there is no mentor teacher available in my learning centre?
This can happen sometimes but it’s rare. You will need to discuss this when you are appointed to a position as you will need to find a fully certificated teacher who can supervise your induction and mentoring programme in flexible ways.
Your options are:
- You work under the supervision of a fully certificated teacher from another learning centre who keeps in contact and visits you regularly.
- You use a fully certificated teacher in a nearby learning centre serving a different age group, for example primary school, secondary school, advisory service or teacher education institution, as a mentor teacher. Your mentor teacher will need contextual understanding of your teaching setting. The Practising Teacher Criteria are the same for all sectors, and can be interpreted and applied for working with a range of age groups and communities.
In either case, you should have an initial planning meeting followed by regular documented visits.
Limited Authority to Teach (LAT)
What is a Limited Authority to Teach?
A Limited Authority to Teach (LAT) is an authority for a person to teach in a temporary capacity. It isn’t a form of registration or a type of practising certificate. A person who holds a LAT can't be appointed to a permanent teaching position.
LATs may be used to cover teaching positions for a variety of roles. Holders must meet specific requirements and have either the skills or experience appropriate to advance the learning of students or skills in an area where there is a shortage of certificated teachers.
If you want to apply for a LAT, read the Limited Authority to Teach Policy to make sure you can provide all the necessary evidence before you submit an application.
I got my Limited Authority to Teach under the Teachers Council. Does anything change?
The expiry date and terms of your Limited Authority to Teach (LAT) remain the same as when they were approved. To change your terms, apply for a new LAT by completing the EC40 application form.
What requirements are needed for a Limited Authority to Teach?
You need to demonstrate that you either have skills and experience appropriate to advance the learning of students, or have skills that are in short supply.
You will need to provide:
- copies of your qualifications
- your CV
- a self-reflection outlining how you can meet the requirements for a Limited Authority to Teach (LAT)
- testimonials from previous employers from the last five years attesting to your skills and how they have been demonstrated in practice
- an endorsement from the professional leader of a school or kindergarten that you meet the requirements to be granted a LAT.
You must also include in your self-reflection and testimonials evidence of your understanding of relevant official curricula, assessment tools and strategies.
If you apply for a LAT on the basis your skills are in short supply, the testimonials and endorsement must show evidence your skills are in short supply.
In both cases, you need the full endorsement of a professional leader. For full details of the LAT requirements, refer to the our Limited Authority to Teach policy.
About processing applications
How do I apply for a new practising certificate?
Download, complete and post the correct form to the Education Council.
Practising Teacher Criteria
What are the Practising Teacher Criteria?
Teachers play a critical role in enabling the educational achievement of all ākonga/learners. The Practising Teacher Criteria describe the essential knowledge and capabilities required for quality teaching in New Zealand. They apply to all teachers in their everyday professional practice seeking to be issued with a full practising certificate, or renew full certification.
They are the standards for quality teaching that teachers in New Zealand must meet to be issued with and renew a full practising certificate.
The Code of Ethics/Ngā Tikanga Matatika commits certificated teachers to the highest standards of professional service in promoting the learning of those they teach. The Practising Teacher Criteria and Code of Ethics should be used hand in hand.
Why were the Practising Teacher Criteria developed?
The Practising Teacher Criteria were designed to provide a rigorous description of quality teaching in the appraisal of teachers.
Who assesses principals?
The principal’s appraisal is the responsibility of the school’s board of trustees (Board). This may be done through a sub-committee or delegated to the Board chairperson. They may also appoint an external appraiser from outside of the school setting. The appraisal cannot be undertaken by a teacher within the school, although teachers can contribute to the appraisal process.
The endorsement of the principal’s practising certificate application is completed and signed by the Board chairperson. The second endorser must be a fully certificated teacher. This could be a principal colleague or a senior teacher within the school setting, such as a deputy principal.
More information can be found on Appraisal of Teachers.
We strongly recommended the process for a principal’s appraisal match the process for appraising teachers across their school, while also taking into account a principal’s unique responsibilities as a professional leader.
For further information, see the Education Review Office’s publication Supporting School Improvement Through Effective Principal Appraisal.
Where can I find more resources about the Practising Teacher Criteria?
When are the Practising Teacher Criteria used?
The Practising Teacher Criteria are used as standards against which quality teaching is measured. Teachers must meet them to gain or renew a full practising certificate.’
Principals or professional leaders use them when assessing the quality of their teachers. Principals or professional leaders are responsible for the professional learning and development of teachers. The principal is the leader of learning.
Like teachers, principals must also be appraised each year using the Practising Teacher Criteria. These may be used with other criteria relevant to the position, and the professional standards, as appropriate.
About Getting Certificated
What do I need to be able to teach in New Zealand?
You need to be registered and to hold a current practising certificate. Registration does not expire, unless it is cancelled. Practising certificates are renewed every three years. There are three levels; provisional, full and subject to confirmation.
What's the difference between registration and practising certificate?
The difference between 'registration' and 'practising certificate' is important. Registration shows you have met the requirements to join the teaching profession in New Zealand. Once granted, it doesn't expire, but it can be cancelled (for example, on grounds of serious misconduct). Registration alone doesn't allow you to lawfully work as a teacher - you also need a current practising certificate.
Your practising certificate allows you to be lawfully employed in schools, kura, kindergartens and in most positions in early childhood education settings.
Practising certificates expire after three years. If you are employed in a teaching position, you need to ensure you renew your practising certificate promptly and meet all the requirements. This includes demonstrating satisfactory recent teaching experience, satisfactory professional development, and are of good character and fit to be a teacher (including a Police vet).
What do the different categories of practising certificate mean?
There are three categories of practising certificate: provisional, full, and subject to confirmation. When a teacher holds a practising certificate they are referred to as a 'certificated teacher'. If a teacher is provisionally certificated this signals:
- they are a recently qualified teacher, or are new to the New Zealand teaching profession
- they need to complete an induction and mentoring programme, supported by a fully certificated mentor teacher, before they can be assessed using the Practising Teacher Criteria be issued with a full practising certificate.
If a teacher is fully certificated this signals:
- they are an experienced teacher
- they have recent teaching experience
- they have recently been appraised as meeting all the Practising Teacher Criteria.
If a teacher is certificated subject to confirmation, this signals that:
- they are an experienced teacher
- for valid reasons, they haven't been appraised using the Practising Teacher Criteria in the last five years.
How long do practising certificates last?
- Registration – doesn’t expire (unless cancelled)
- Provisional practising certificate – three years
- Full practising certificate – three years
- Subject to confirmation – three years
*Our interim registration policy allows teachers who held a practising certificate with the Teachers Council (prior to July 2015) will have automatically received a practising certificate with the Education Council. This will expire on 1 July 2017 or earlier, depending on the existing expiry date.
How do I become fully certificated?
If you are provisionally certificated you must complete at least two years of teaching with an induction and mentoring programme provided by a fully certificated mentor teacher in New Zealand. You must be employed in a teaching position of at least 0.5 of full time teacher equivalent (FTTE) and the teaching must be completed in blocks of no less than six weeks.
If you are a subject to confirmation teacher you must complete one year of mentored teaching suitable for an experienced teacher and be meaningfully appraised by a fully certificated teacher using the Practising Teacher Criteria. You do not need to be employed in a role of 0.5 FTTE or more, but you do need to be employed in a role of a sufficient size to allow for meaningful appraisal.
Day to day relieving and any teaching of less than six weeks can't be considered towards the requirements for being issued with a full practising certificate. Long term relief teaching can be considered, provided that it meets the above requirements.
How long can I stay provisionally certificated?
It is important to become fully certificated. This tells parents, peers and the community you are of the highest standard. Becoming fully certificated means you have undertaken induction and mentoring for at least two years, and have been supported over that time to make the transition from being a student teacher with limited experience to being a confident and effective teacher. Full certification also means you meet the Practising Teacher Criteria. All provisionally certificated teachers should be working to meet the Criteria and be issued with a full practising certificate as soon as possible, with the appropriate support.
If you haven't been able to complete these requirements within six years of becoming registered, and you want to renew your provisional practising certificate, you'll need to complete the Teacher Education Refresh (TER) programme first.
How do I stay registered?
Your registration is granted when you have met the requirements to join the teaching profession. It doesn't expire and you don't need to apply for it again unless it is cancelled. Registration alone doesn't allow you to lawfully work as a teacher - you also need a current practising certificate. To keep working as a teacher you must renew your practising certificate every three years.
How do I register?
You will need to fill in either an EC10 or EC15 application form and send it to us.
What if I’ve lost my practising certificate?
A practising certificate can be reprinted for you at a cost of $40. You can pay this by credit card (Visa or Mastercard) or cheque. You can also refer to the online register for details of your current practising certificate status and expiry if you'd rather not pay for a reprinted practising certificate.
How can I update my contact details?
Use the change of details form or give us a call on (04) 471 0852.
My application has been approved but I haven't received my practising certificate card. Where is it?
It takes around two weeks for your practising certificate card to arrive in the post. The online register is updated immediately, so you can use this as proof of your current practising certificate until your card arrives. If your card still hasn't arrived after two weeks, please let us know so we can check we have your correct address.
What if I was registered with the Teachers Council but haven’t renewed my registration since?
We will take into account your previous registration category and the date it was approved when we assess your application. Once you receive your registration you won’t have to apply for it again because under the Education Council registration doesn’t expire. However to be lawfully employed as a teacher you will need a current practising certificate which is renewed every three years.
I was registered with the Teachers Council but my name isn’t on the Education Council register, why?
Registration under the Teachers Council expired after a certain time depending on your category of registration. If you were unregistered at July 1 2015 (Education Council goes live) you will need to apply to be registered under the new organisation.
What forms do I need?
Your situation is:
Completed initial teacher education (ITE) never registered
Qualified as teacher overseas but not registered here
Previously registered with Teachers Council but currently unregistered
Hold current Australian registration and want to teach here
What are the differences in in expiry dates between the Teachers Council and the Education Council?
Issued for 3 years
2 or 3 years* after expiry of practising certificate
Issued for 3 years
5 years after expiry of practising certificate
Subject to Confirmation
Issued for 3 years
On expiry of practising certificate
*s127(1)(c) of the Education Act 1989 before the commencement of the Education Council stated that provisional registration expired after five years, but allowed the Teachers Council to grant one further year (to a maximum of six years) of provisional registration.
Does not expire
Practising certificate category
Subject to Confirmation
*Under our Interim Registration Policy, teachers who already held a practising certificate with the Teachers Council automatically received a practising certificate with the Education Council; however it will expire on 1 July 2017 or earlier, depending on the existing expiry date. This is in accordance with Schedule 20(6)(b) of the Education Act 1989.
Conduct and Competence Process
Conduct and Competence – How it Works
With over 103,000 practising teachers in New Zealand, teaching is one of the largest professional groups in New Zealand. Teachers hold a position of trust – teaching and nurturing young New Zealanders. So it’s right they should come under public scrutiny with an expectation of exemplary professional behaviour.
While most teachers take this position of trust very seriously, a very small number behave inappropriately. As the professional organisation for teachers, investigating complaints about a teacher’s conduct (their behaviour) or competence (their ability to teach), is one of the Education Council’s core roles.
The following information answers commonly asked questions about the processes for dealing with conduct and competence issues with teachers.
How is the council notified about an issue with a teacher?
The council gets involved when a complaint is made about a teacher or a teacher has been dismissed from a school. Schools must report a dismissal of a teacher, and some resignations, or if there is a matter of serious misconduct, to the council. This is done through a mandatory report. The council can also act on concerns about a teacher without receiving a complaint. Complaints can’t be made anonymously.
What is a mandatory report?
A mandatory report is an official document which a school or early childhood centre must complete and send to the council if a teacher is dismissed or resigns or their employment finishes (and their employer needs to progress a complaint or a competence issue), or has reason to believe the teacher has engaged in serious misconduct. A mandatory report must also be made if the employer believes a teacher has not reached an appropriate level of competence.
Can a member of the public make a complaint about a teacher?
Yes, however complaints should be made to the teacher’s employer at first as complaints will be referred back to the teacher’s employer. However if you aren’t satisfied with your response, or the teacher doesn’t have a current employer you can come direct to the council. If you are concerned the teacher has committed an offence, you should contact the police. Click here to make a complaint.
What happens when the council gets a complaint about a teacher?
First the council will review the complaint to see if it should have gone to the teacher’s employer. If not, it will start the investigation process. The teacher will be given the full details of the complaint and an opportunity to answer the allegations and correct information.
What is meant by serious misconduct?
Any behaviour which is abusive and puts a student at risk is considered serious misconduct. Abuse can be physical, psychological or sexual. Other types of serious misconduct include having an inappropriate relationship with a student, neglect or ill treatment of a child, theft or fraud, involvement in illegal drugs, viewing pornography while working as a teacher or anything that is an offence punishable by time in prison. Anything that brings the profession into discredit is also seen as serious misconduct.
What’s the difference between a conduct and competence?
Competence complaints are mainly around the performance of the teacher – how they might teach or interact with students or colleagues. These are investigated by competence assessors and generally treated in a more rehabilitative way working with the teacher to an agreed plan to address the teacher’s shortcoming. The council can however make a final determination on the teachers’ competence.
What are competence assessors?
Competence assessors review a complaint about a teacher’s competence in the classroom. They tend to work with the teacher to develop a plan to get them up to the appropriate professional standards.
What is the Complaints Assessment Committee (CAC)?
The CAC assesses a complaint about a teacher to decide if it should be escalated to the Disciplinary Tribunal. The committee can also refer a case to an impairment committee which assess any issues which might impair a teacher’s ability.
When cases go to the Disciplinary Tribunal, the CAC becomes the prosecuting body and is represented by a lawyer.
What is the Impairment Committee?
This committee focuses on any issues that might affect a teacher’s ability to teach such as a mental health problem, an addiction or an issue with drugs and alcohol.
What is the Competence Advisory Group (CAG)?
This group reviews recommendations made by competence assessors, making further recommendations to the council. CAG members are experienced teachers with the knowledge and experience to provide expert advice on matters of competence.
What is the Disciplinary Tribunal?
The Disciplinary Tribunal has powers and procedures similar to a court of law. It must objectively review and determine facts and draw conclusions based on that process. It considers matters referred to it by the CAC. Tribunal hearings are formal but members of the public can attend them, unless the chairperson decides otherwise. The chairperson can also decide if any details are suppressed. The tribunal usually comprises two panel members and one chairperson. The chairperson is a lawyer while the other panel members are teachers and appropriately experienced lay people.
When are hearings held?
Hearings are held mainly in Wellington and Auckland. There’s no regular schedule, although upcoming hearings are posted on the council’s website.
Why are some hearings held in private?
Hearings are rarely held in private because there is a strong argument in favour of the public’s right to know. The chair might decide the hearing needs to be held in private for instance to protect a vulnerable witness. However this isn’t common practice because there is strong argument in favour of the public’s right to know. Details are suppressed if a hearing is held in private.
Why are some details suppressed?
Respondents may request suppression of all details about the case. The chairperson will consider this, balancing the public’s interest with the respondent’s right to privacy. There is a strong mandate for transparency in these matters so the chairperson will consider this very carefully.
Sometimes details may be suppressed if there is concern about the age of a witness or where allowing this information to be public could have an adverse effect on a witness or member of the respondent’s family. Suppressed details may then include the name of the respondent, and any other identifying details.
What decisions can be made in a hearing?
If the tribunal determines a teacher’s conduct was serious it will then determine what the outcome will be, for instance, the teacher might be censured but allowed to carry on teaching under certain conditions. The teacher’s practicing certificate might be suspended for a period, or if the matter is extremely serious the teacher’s registration might be cancelled. This bans them from teaching again.
What does being censured mean?
A censure is similar to a formal telling off. It lets the teacher know the profession regards their behaviour as unacceptable. More serious censures are annotated – marked – on the teacher register.
Can teachers be fined?
Yes and ordered to contribute to the costs of the hearings.
What does a hearing held on paper mean?
This is where the Disciplinary Tribunal will review and make a decision on a case based on written submissions from both parties where it’s convenient, practical and fair to do so.
What is a Specified Offence?
Broadly speaking a specified offence is one which is of a sexual or violent nature. See the full list here
Vulnerable Children Act
How do I Apply for an Exemption?
You must apply for an exemption to teach through the Ministry of Social Development.
What is the Vulnerable Children Act?
Protecting vulnerable children is everyone’s responsibility. The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 helps protect young people at risk of child abuse by bringing a child-centred approach to policies and processes for government agencies working with children. It strengthens the safety of children by making sure state services, and their funded providers, adopt child protection policies. It helps ensure a safe and competent workforce so people have the core competencies to recognise and act on a child who may be vulnerable to abuse. Click here for more information.
What is a Specified Offence?
Broadly speaking a specified offence is one which is of a sexual or violent nature. See the full list here
What if I have a conviction for a specified offence?
We must cancel your registration and practising certificate if you are convicted of a specified offence under law. You can apply for an exemption and our Complaints Assessment Committee (CAC) will investigate you to ensure you are competent and safe to teach. This also applies to those with a Limited Authority to Teach.
Who considers exemptions?
The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has an exemptions team which manages applications for exemptions on behalf of government departments and ministries. This includes teachers. If MSD has approved your exemption you will then be referred to the Complaints Assessment Committee.
What does an exemption mean?
Getting an exemption means you are entitled to work as a teacher as you have been cleared by the Ministry of Social Development and investigated by the Complaints Assessment Committee and found to be competent and safe to teach.
What if I don’t get an exemption?
You will not legally be able to be employed in a teaching position in New Zealand and we must cancel your practising certificate.
How long will the exemption process take?
This process can take up to two months from the date of submitting the application.
When do I need an overseas police clearance?
You need a police clearance certificate from the country you lived in if you’ve lived outside New Zealand for 12 months or more within the last ten years. The clearance must cover the length of your stay in the country. You don't need to provide a new clearance with your future applications, unless you again live outside NZ for 12 months or more.
How do I apply for a police clearance?
Details on how to apply for police clearances from most countries are available here: overseas police clearance.
My overseas police clearance isn't in English. Does it need to be translated?
Yes, you must provide translations if your documents are not in English or Māori. The translation must be word for word and certified as correct by an official New Zealand translation service.
I previously taught in Australia. Will I get a practising certificate?
The Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act (TTMRA) allows teachers to gain equivalent professional recognition and be employed as a teacher across New Zealand and most of the states and territories in Australia.
How do I apply from Australia to teach in New Zealand?
You can apply for registration and a practising certificate in New Zealand under the TTMRA if you hold current registration in one of the states or territories recognised under the Act (New South Wales isn't covered by the TTMRA).
In Australia, teachers don't hold a practising certificate in addition to registration. In New Zealand, you must hold registration and a current practising certificate to be lawfully employed in schools, kura, kindergartens and most teaching positions in early childhood settings. If your application is approved you will be granted registration and a practising certificate.
You are expected to meet the teaching service and other requirements for the renewal of your practising certificate.
How do I apply from New Zealand to teach in Australia?
If you are applying for registration in Australia under the TTMRA, you will need to be registered and hold a current practising certificate to be registered in the relevant Australian jurisdiction. For more information contact the relevant Australian registration body:
· Queensland College of Teachers
· Teachers Registration Board of South Australia
· Victoria Institute of Teaching
· Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia
· Teacher Registration Board of Tasmania
· Teacher Registration Board of the Northern Territory
· ACT Teacher Quality Institute
Online Renewal of Practising Certificates
Can all teachers renew online?
We have chosen to start with our biggest group of certificated teachers – those with full practising certificates. These are teachers who are already registered. We will use the Education Sector logon tool as the identity verification tool with this initial group. This means the first group of teachers using the online renewal process will be those with full practising certificates and an Education Sector logon account.
Who can renew online?
Initially only teachers with full practising certificates and an Education Sector logon account will be able to renew their practising certificates online; however we are working on a system that will make the process available to all teachers.
What is an Education Sector logon account and how do I get one?
An Education Sector logon account is a user id/account used in schools for access to Education sector applications such as PACT, eAsttle, and NZQA. You can arrange an Education Sector logon account through your school’s Education sector Provisioning Application (EPA) Authoriser.
When will teachers with other types of practising certificates be able to renew them online?
We are taking a staged approach to ensure we get it right. We are working on a system that will make the process available to all teachers and will release this as the next stage.
Will I be able to pay my application processing fees online?
You will be able to pay the renewal of your practising certificate fees online (and any late fees where applicable).
Will I need to post anything in or is everything done online?
We expect that you will be able to complete everything needed for your renewal application online. The process is designed to collect any changes in address, your teaching experience, your declaration and information about relevant overseas stays. Your endorser can access the endorsement section for your application and can also complete ‘Proof of Identity’ online. In some cases a teacher may need to post a supporting document but this would be an exception.
Will teachers be able to register online?
At this stage teachers won’t be able to register online but we are working towards this. Our first priority is the online renewal of practising certificates for those teachers already registered.
What if I don’t want to go online?
For now you can continue using a paper- based system but we will be moving towards a fully online system.
How do I access training about this?
What kind of support will be available to help?
We have, along with Training Services, developed two training modules to help you with the process. Training can be accessed here:
A third training module will be available in early 2017. Principals need to complete this training module before they can carry out the functions to support applications.
Can all teachers with a full practising certificate choose to renew online?
The identification verification tool we’re using for the first stage of our online process is the Education Sector logon which is currently available through schools. We’re currently working on an identity verification solution for those who don’t have an Education Sector logon account.
I am a principal; how do I endorse a teacher’s application?
A teacher will receive a tracking number to forward to their endorser (who will most often be their current principal). The endorser will log on using their Education Sector logon username and password, enter the tracking number and then endorse the application. If the teacher requires the ‘Proof of Identity’ check to be completed this can also be completed online.
What do I need to do now?
We recommend the first thing you do is check we have your current contact details. You can update them online: update your details online. If your practising certificate expires after Jan 2018 and you have an Education Sector logon, you will probably be able to use the online renewal process (remember you can apply to renew your practising certificate up to 6 months before its expiry).
Make sure you have your Education Sector logon username and password handy, along with details of your teaching experience over the last five years. It would also be helpful for you to be familiar with the proof of identity requirements to check you have the right documents needed for that process.
There is training available here:
A third training module will be available in early 2017. Principals need to complete this training module before they can carry out the functions to support applications (i.e. endorsing applications, completing Proof of Identity for teachers and certifying documents online).
Appraisal Professional Learning and Resources
Do I need to demonstrate that I have met the twelve criteria annually?
Every year, all twelve criteria must be addressed through the appraisal process. It is expected that teachers with a full practising certificate will demonstrate and have evidence of them all annually. In cases where the evidence may not be satisfactory for any criteria, a proposed plan of action, with a timeline for addressing the criteria would be entered on the Appraisal Annual Summary Report.
How does student achievement fit with appraisal?
The well-being, learning and achievement of students lies at the heart of appraisal. Attention to the valued outcomes for students should be visible in each component of aligned appraisal processes from teachers' and professional leaders' goal setting, data gathering and analysis, observations and collegial discussions to appraisal reporting. Particular attention will be paid to priority learners.
The Practising Teacher Criteria (PTC) and Tātaiako prompt teachers and professional leaders to be thinking about the relationship between their teaching and outcomes for their students. Evidence of teaching, students' learning and achievement in relation to the PTC is expected to be reflected upon and discussed within the appraisal cycle. As within schools' inquiries and centres' self -reviews, it is expected that evidence of valued outcomes for students will be used to set goals, determine next steps, adapt current approaches and establish the focus of professional learning and development for the school or early childhood education setting as a whole and for individual teachers.
How can our inquiry cycles fit with our appraisals?
Often we are asked how gathering, analysing and discussing evidence for appraisal can be made manageable for teachers and professional leaders. Our response is to encourage teachers and professional leaders to find as many synergies with other components of practice and professional learning as possible.
In schools, most teachers are involved in conducting inquiries. Sometimes these are closely linked to school wide inquiries, in other cases teachers each conduct their own. Either way inquiry is a process that involves teachers in:
- Setting goals
- Identifying the strengths and needs of students
- Gathering evidence about their students’ learning and their own teaching practice
- Identifying their own professional learning needs
- Determining next steps for planning, teaching and learning
The teacher can use all aspects of this process as a source of evidence for their appraisal.
The professional leader can provide additional evidence, just as anyone else who is involved in the teacher’s appraisal can contribute their evidence-observations, discussions and or documentation. When the inquiry is analysed against the Practising Teacher Criteria (PTC), teachers and professional leaders can see how any of the PTC are being evidenced.
Any PTC that are not met through the inquiry can be evidenced through other aspects of the teacher’s practice. Evidence for any that are not covered through the inquiry can be sought in other aspects of the teacher’s work or become the focus of on-going appraisal discussions and professional learning and development.
Is appraisal for professional development and learning different from appraisal for accountability?
Appraisal for professional learning and development can be part of the same process as appraisal for accountability.
When a teacher or professional leader is appraised against the Practising Teacher Criteria for the issue or renewal of their practising certificate, this represents the accountability function of appraisal. However, as part of this process, the professional leader and teacher will be identifying next steps learning, the teacher will be receiving and reflecting on feedback, the conversations will be evidence based, the observations will inform the discussions, new goals will be set. All of these actions constitute professional learning and development.
When appraisal is undertaken for more than its accountability function, there can be positive outcomes:
"Appraisal and feedback have a strong positive influence on teachers and their work. Teachers report that is increases their job satisfaction and, to some degree, their job security, and it significantly increases their development as teachers." Read the OECD TALIS Report.
How do we use two sets of standards (Professional Standards and Practising Teacher Criteria) for appraisal?
It is recognised by teachers, professional leaders, the Council, OECD evaluators and the teachers' industrial and professional bodies (PPTA and NZEI) that having two sets of standards for appraisal and attestation is not ideal. It is hoped that a time will come when there are a single set. In the interim the information below has been shared with professional leaders and teachers to address the situation.
The Practising Teacher Criteria (PTC) have been developed by the Council in consultation with members of the profession. The PTC must be used for appraising teachers for the issue of a practising certificate. The Professional Standards are those that are included in the collective agreement between the Ministry of Education and PPTA or NZEI. They are used for attestation and must be brought into play in any employment discussions between the professional leader and a teacher.
While a teacher’s competence may be assessed by the employer against the professional standards, a mandatory report or complaint will be assessed by the Council against the PTC.
For these reasons, teachers and professional leaders should have access to and awareness of both sets of standards.
Appraisal using the comparative matrices of standards
For teachers and professional leaders there are alignment matrices that show how the two sets of standards fit together - view the matrices. NZEI also has a set of matrices for the same purpose http://www.nzei.org.nz/NZEI/Help/FAQs/RTC.aspx.
These are used by many schools and someearly childhood education services. They mean that the appraisal using the PTC can also be linked to the Professional Standards as necessary. By using the matrices, the focus for the vast majority of teachers can remain on the PTC although both appraiser and appraisee are aware of how the teacher's practice also meets the Professional Standards.
The PPTA has written a support document to clarify the use of both sets of standards http://ppta.org.nz/index.php/resources/publication-list.
Does the Council expect that all teachers should be keeping electronic portfolios of evidence?
The Council does not have a preferred form of evidence presentation. They know that print based collections or portfolios of evidence suit the style of some teachers while electronic based collections suit others. The decision lies with teachers and their professional leaders.
Whatever the form, the collection of evidence is a package that needs to indicate appraisal as an on-going component of the teacher’s development. It will be chronological and show that appraisal has been a process over the three years not an isolated event.
How does student voice inform appraisal in schooling?
Incorporating students’ voices into appraisal provides a richer picture of teachers’ practice and learning. When teachers seek and incorporate students’ ideas, knowledge and feedback on aspects of their learning and the classroom programme, they have more information on which to base their teaching decisions. Their reflections on students’ perspectives, along with commentary on how these have informed their ongoing practice and learning can be used by teachers as evidence in appraisal discussions with professional leaders.
Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies has many examples of student’s voices that can help teachers to get started. You can read further information and articles about using students’ voices in schooling.
How do children’s voices inform appraisal in early childhood education?
In early childhood education settings, children’s voices can be used in the same way as described above. Teachers will use appropriate ways to seek the ideas, knowledge and feedback from their children. This can include asking parents and whanau about their observations and understandings of their children’s learning. Their feedback and commentary on their children’s learning and the teacher’s practice can similarly be used in appraisal discussions. Listen here to a Parent’s Perspective on her child’s learning and the teacher’s practice.
Do principals use the Practising Teacher Criteria in their appraisals if they do not teach their own class?
The interim registration policy of the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand states that anyone in a teaching position in a school in the general education system must hold a current practising certificate. A principal’s position is a teaching position. While it is possible that a principal may not teach their own class/es, they are ultimately responsible for the teaching and learning of the children/students in the school and directly responsible for the professional learning and development of their teachers. The principal is the leader of learning.
To be issued with or to renew a current practising certificate, principals like teachers need to be annually appraised using the Practising Teacher Criteria. This does not preclude the use in the appraisal processes of other criteria relevant to the position and the Professional Standards.
The principal’s appraisal is the responsibility of the school’s Board of Trustees (Board). The Board may do this through a subcommittee of the Board, delegate it to the Board chairperson or they may decide to appoint an external appraiser with appropriate skills and knowledge from outside of the school setting. The appraisal cannot be undertaken by a teacher within their own school, although teachers can contribute to the appraisal process.
The endorsement for a principal on their application for the issue or renewal of a practising certificate is completed and signed by the Board chairperson and the second endorser must be a teacher who is fully certificated. This could be a principal colleague or a senior teacher within the school setting such as a deputy principal.
The Education Council website has information and webinars to support schools’ appraisal processes. It is strongly recommended that while the content of the appraisal will reflect the unique additional aspects of the principal’s role, the processes followed for their own appraisal are congruent with that used for their teachers across their school.
More information can also be found on the Education Review Office website where you can download their 2014 publication “Supporting school improvement through effective principal appraisal”.
Early Childhood Education - How can a person who does not hold full practising certificate participate as an endorser in a teacher's appraisal process?
The Education Council as the professional body for teaching needs fully certificated members of the profession to participate in the annual appraisal of teachers and as endorsers for the issuing and renewal of practising certificates.
On the practising certificate renewal form for the fully certificated teacher a signature is required from the professional leader/employer, as they have the responsibility to provide for the appraisal of staff. If they are not a fully certificated teacher or the appraiser then there needs to be a second endorser of the application who is a fully certificated teacher.
If a centre manager or owner of a service who is not a fully certificated teacher or even a qualified teacher, conducts the appraisal process they must do this in partnership with a fully certificated teacher. This must be an authentic partnership throughout the appraisal process. The fully certificated teacher would be:
- involved in helping the teacher set goals for their professional growth and development
- involved in undertaking observations to provide feedback on practice and the progress towards the teachers’ achievement of their goals.
- expected to have some check in meetings during the year where they discuss the observations or other matters associated with the teacher’s appraisal goals
- discussing practice and the evidence the teacher had of demonstrating all of the Practising Teacher Criteria in their work.
Additional information about a centre leader’s/manager’s own appraisal can be found on our website: http://www.educationcouncil.org.nz/sites/default/files/Guidelines_for_Centre_owners_registration_renewal.pdf
Information about the audit of appraisals that is being undertaken by the Education Review Office on the Education Council’s behalf can be found at: http://ero.govt.nz/Review-Process/Education-Council-Audit
Conflict of Interest. When might this be an issue in an appraisal process and what do I need to do?
Conflicts of interest that concern the Education Council in the issuing of practising certificates can arise in the following circumstances:
- The teacher is a relative, close friend of the person appraising or mentoring and recommending them to the Council for the issuing of their practising certificate.
- The employer appoints a teacher who is their employee as their sole appraiser and recommender to the Education Council for the issuing of their practising certificate.
To ensure professionalism in the appraisal and mentoring processes it is important to ensure teachers and leaders are clear about these possible conflicts of interest. The Council recommends that ECE services and schools have clear policy guidelines should circumstances arise. One approach may be to have a Professional Practices Policy. Other settings may include a statement in their appraisal of teachers’ policy or have a specific Conflict of Interest Policy.
See possible approach to a Professional Practices Policy link
Interim Practising Certificates
What is an interim practising certificate?
There is a new process for registration and practising certificates. If you renewed your practising certificate between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015, you will be affected by these changes and your practising certificate will expire on 1 July 2017. In order to enable teachers affected by these changes to continue practising, the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand has established the interim practising certificate.
How do I know if I need to apply for an interim practising certificate?
You will need an interim practising certificate if you were issued with or renewed your current practising certificate between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015. To check if you require an interim practising certificate, visit the Council’s online register. Teachers requiring an interim practising certificate will have an annotation on the register regarding Schedule 20(6)(b) of the Education Act. The Council will also send a personal email or letter to the affected teachers advising how they are able to receive an interim practising certificate by the end of February.
What is the process to receive an interim practising certificate?
You should have received an email or letter from us to let you know you need an interim practising certificate, with a link to confirm your interim practising certificate with one click. No payment, endorsement or police vets are required. In June 2017, we sent text messages to those teachers still requiring an interim practising certificates. Please respond to the text message to confirm your interim practising certificate. No further action is required.
I am a teacher who requires an interim practising certificate but I have not received an email or letter from the Education Council. What should I do?
If you believe you require an interim practising certificate and you have not received instructions from us, please contact us to ensure that we have your current contact details. Please also check the Junk and Spam folders for your email address just in case your email has been filed there. You can also call us to have your interim practising certificate issued over the phone.
Can I apply now?
You are not able to apply for an interim practising certificate until you have received instructions from us, which will be sent by the end of February.
How much will it cost me?
There is no cost to receive an interim practising certificate.
Do I need to gather together my appraisal information?
You do not need to gather any documents or appraisal information to receive an interim practising certificate. You simply need to confirm that you want the interim practising certificate once you have received the communication from us.
How long will my interim practising certificate last?
The interim practising certificate will expire when your current practising certificate is due to expire. You will need to go through the renewal process as you normally would have once your interim practising certificate has expired.
I'm a school principal. Can I apply on behalf of teaching staff?
No, individual teachers must apply directly for their interim practising certificate. You can check that they have applied for their interim practising certificate by checking the online register. If they still require an interim practising certificate there will be an annotation on the register to say that they are subject to Schedule 20(6)(b) of the Education Act.
What will happen if I don't apply by 1 July 2017?
If you require an interim practising certificate and do not apply for one by 1 July 2017, your practising certificate will expire.
My practising certificate has the correct date. Do I still need to apply?
If the online register says that you are subject to Schedule 20(6)(b) of the Education Act, you will still need to apply for an interim practising certificate. Once an interim practising certificate is issued, the details on your practising certificate card will be correct.
Will you send me a new practising certificate?
No. Once your interim practising certificate is issued, you will be able to continue to use your current practising certificate card. If you would like to order a reprint of your practising certificate card, a new card can be ordered for the cost of $40.00. Please call us on (04) 471 0852 with credit card details to order a new card.
How will I know my interim practising certificate was issued?
You will receive an email from the Council once your interim practising certificate has been issued. The annotation on our online register regarding Schedule 20(6)(b) of the Education Act will also be removed when the interim practising certificate is issued.
Does this affect my registration or category or practising certificate?
The interim practising certificate will not affect your registration or category of practising certificate. The register will still show you as a registered teacher with a provisional, full or subject to confirmation practising certificate. The interim practising certificate will allow you to continue teaching as you would normally.