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New Ombudsman opinion: Teachers Council & ECE Graduates

The Ombudsman has released his opinion on a complaint about the New Zealand Teachers Council’s refusal to register certain Early Childhood Education graduates, due to concerns about their English language proficiency. Professor Paterson found that the Teachers Council had not acted unreasonably. The opinion emphasises the importance of a registration body, such as the Teachers Council, being able to decline to register applicants who do not meet English language proficiency requirements. This is crucial for safeguarding the integrity of the registration regime and ensuring that graduates are competent to practise. You can read the full opinion here.



The New Zealand Tertiary College (‘the Tertiary College’) is a private training establishment based in Auckland which is approved and accredited by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (‘NZQA’) to deliver a range of early childhood education qualifications.

In August 2012, the Tertiary College learnt that the New Zealand Teachers Council (‘the Teachers Council’) was not progressing the registration of the Tertiary College’s graduates from the Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) programme, on the basis that the Tertiary College’s graduates had not demonstrated sufficient English language proficiency. On 18 July 2013, counsel for the Tertiary College, Chen Palmer, complained to the Ombudsman.


Summary of opinion

14. I have concluded that the Teachers Council has not acted unreasonably. The basis for my opinion is set out below.

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