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Teachers Council reassures Minister on processes

24 October 2006

Teachers Council reassures Minister on processes

Education Minister Steve Maharey this morning met with the Chair and Director of the Teachers Council to discuss the thirteen cases of teacher misconduct, highlighted in a recent media report.

"The Council has assured me they have robust and appropriate systems in place for the registration of teachers and that under no circumstances would they allow unsuitable people to return to the classroom," Steve Maharey said.

"The safety of students in the classroom is paramount.

"There is close monitoring of conditions attached to any individual allowed to remain registered as a teacher.

"For these particular cases, the Chairperson of the Council has undertaken to review the files and reassure me that, in all cases, conditions put into place have been followed to the letter.

"I have also invited the Teachers Council to provide recommendations on whether any improvements could be made to the current processes, if needed."

Steve Maharey said the Labour-led government had made substantial changes to lift standards around teacher registration, including requirements for all teachers to undergo police vetting and to become formally registered with the Teachers Council.

"Under the National government in the 1990s, the registration of teachers was voluntary until 1997. While registration became mandatory in 1997, there was no professional body for teachers and no requirement for police vetting of teachers before they were employed in schools.

"Changes to the Education Act in 2001 required police vetting for all personnel in schools and early childhood centres. The Act also established the Teachers Council, the professional body for teachers. The body includes professional teachers, principals and parents.

"In cases of serious misconduct, the Council has powers to either de-register teachers or impose conditions on their ongoing registration. This often includes disclosing full information to a perspective employer, a period of monitoring, and regular reports from the principal."

Details on Teachers Council processes available at www.teacherscouncil.govt.nz

ENDS

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