The Teaching Council acknowledges the announcement today that the Government is to establish a new model of charter schools and to allow state schools to become charter schools. For the Council, the bottom line for charter schools is that the profession and the public must have the assurance that safety measures are in place so that all of those employed as teachers are of good character, fit to teach, and are accountable.

“Our first preference would always be for people in teaching positions to be registered teachers with a practising certificate. It is a key requirement of the Teaching Council to register people as teachers and ensure they are ‘satisfactorily trained to teach’, Teaching Council chief executive Lesley Hoskin says, “from the perspective of Council, the processes of registration and certification provide an important protection in relation to both the quality of teaching and safety of children and young people.” Not everyone can be a teacher and it undermines the expertise of teaching by suggesting that just because you have knowledge you can impart it effectively.

Teaching is a challenging profession and as with lawyers and doctors, requires a high degree of specialised training and expertise – including gaining degree-level qualifications from an Initial Teacher Education (ITE) provider along with two years induction and mentoring in the classroom before teachers are fully recognised as a teacher. Additionally, there are many situations’ teachers and educators deal with that require skills beyond pedagogical, including responding to increasing diversity and ways of learning in the classroom, and managing complex behaviours.

Safeguards come not only from the process of gaining specialised teaching qualifications, but from ongoing oversight and accountability against professional norms and are particularly important when operating at scale - thousands of teachers in hundreds of schools.

Hoskin continues, “We all know the benefits of having registered and certificated teachers in every classroom, however, with the entry of the charter school model, people who are not registered teachers will be able to take on teaching roles. Fortunately, the Council already has mechanisms in place that give schools greater flexibility in terms of appointing people with specific technical skills into teaching roles, and importantly keeps learners safe, and that’s the Limited Authority to Teach (LAT).”

Hoskin says, “It’s vital that every person who holds a teaching position in a charter school who is not a certificated teachers is at minimum an authorised teacher (holder of a LAT). Using the LAT mechanism for charter schools is a safeguard, in part because LAT holders are subject to the Code of Professional Responsibility. We have a robust system and that’s in the interests of all schools and members of the profession, given that they’re in positions of power and trust.”

“It’s our role at the Teaching Council to ensure teachers, regardless of where they work, are fit to teach and be accountable. We’re pleased that today’s decision shows the Government’s trust in the Council and our systems, processes and guidance, that the LAT - as the minimum requirement for a teacher in any school – is the safeguard; and we’ll continue to work closely with and advise the Government on the criticality of having registered and certificated teachers in front of learners.