October 25, 2006
NZEI Satisfied Teachers’ Council Vetting Fair & Robust
NZEI Te Riu Roa is satisfied the vetting of teachers carried out by the New Zealand Teachers’ Council is fair and robust and that the safety of students in schools and children in early childhood education centres is paramount in the council’s decision making.
“This view is based on our dealings with the Teachers’ Council,” says the National President of NZEI Te Riu Roa, the union that represents primary and early childhood teachers. “When we represent our teacher members before the council we find that it is diligent, searching and well considered in its decision making concerning fitness and good character to teach.”
“As a union it is our job in these situations to ensure, that like any citizen of New Zealand, our teacher members receive a fair hearing and that their privacy rights are preserved.”
“Our experience is that the council is effective in balancing these rights with the rights of children to enjoy a safe learning environment and to receive a quality education from competent, trained professional teachers.”
Irene Cooper says that NZEI Te Riu Roa has confidence in the Teachers’ Council and its processes just as it has confidence in the teaching profession. “We believe that parents and the wider public should not be swayed from holding the view that the teachers currently in front of students are not only well qualified to teach but also meet the standards of good character and fitness to teach.”
Irene Cooper says the Teachers’ Council has shown that
it will act if it decides a teacher is not fit to teach.
“It has deregistered teachers and it has stood teachers down, placing conditions on them that they must meet if they are to return to the classroom.”
She says the council has also been proactive in insisting on counselling, restorative action and in ensuring employers are conversant with, and agreeable to, any ongoing support or monitoring and reporting recommendations.
She says every teacher also has to have their registration renewed every three years and this is subject to their school or early childhood education centre recommending the renewal.
“I am saddened to see parents being led to believe that the Teachers’ Council, a professional body which is bound by statute, would act in a way which put the infants, toddlers, children and young adults in our schools and early childhood education centres at risk.”
“I am a mother and a grandparent, as well as principal of a primary school. I am clear about what I expect from a teacher in their teaching role and the law makes it clear what is expected of all of us as citizens.”
The Teachers’ Council monitors both these boundaries for every teacher in the country through its registration and disciplinary processes.”
“But the bottom line is that every teacher working in a school, or early childhood education centre, is employed by the school’s board or by the centre. It is the school boards and early childhood employers who have the final say on which teachers are in our classrooms and centres educating our children,” says Irene Cooper.