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COVID-19 Updates

Updated April 28, 10am

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How are Teaching Council services impacted?

April 17: Letter to Minister Hipkins about proposed move to Alert Level 3

March 23: Open letter to PM

Quick links and resources

Just as you will be, at the Council we’re getting used to a rapidly changing new ‘normal’. Council staff are ready, willing and able to do their best.

How are Teaching Council services impacted?

Registration and certification - late fees waived/refunded

Late fees will be waived from March 25 until June 30.

Any application (i.e. for registration, certification or certification renew) received as of Tuesday March 24 will be processed and assessed as normal.

Extensions will be approved as normal if requested.

Please prioritise renewing your certification through our online application system EC30 OnlineThe added benefit is it’s also faster and easier. If you’re prompted to pay a late fee, you will be refunded by the Council, so please don’t worry.

Practising certificate card delays: Teachers who have successfully registered and certificated will be sent an approval email and the online Register of NZ Registered Teachers will be updated. There will be a delay in the delivery of your hard copy approval letter and practising card due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Contact Centre – email us

With our office now closed for COVID 19 isolation, there are likely to be longer waits but we are working on responding to your questions and concerns.

Please prioritise sending us an email to as they’re easier and quicker for our staff working from home to respond to. However, if you would rather call, please be aware you may need to leave a voicemail. We will respond as soon as we can.

Conduct and Competence - moving online

To ensure teachers are not impacted longer than necessary, all our panels will continue operating: this includes the Complaints Assessment Committee, Competence Authority, Registration Panel and Disciplinary Tribunal. If you do not wish to engage at this time, please get in touch.

There will of course, be no face-to face interactions. If a teacher wishes to engage with us in person, the meeting will be postponed until it is safe to do so again. If teachers are comfortable meeting with a panel via Skype or their hearing is already scheduled as “on the papers”, we will make arrangements for these to happen as soon as possible.

Other than necessary communication, our conduct and competence teams will be reducing their communications with teachers so they can concentrate on supporting their learners, schools, centres, kura and whanau at this time. Any teacher who would like an update on their case, please email the Council at or

ITE Providers

We have a separate newsletter providing updates for Initial Teacher Education providers. If you wish to follow these please email to subscribe.

Teaching Council/Matatū Aotearoa position on online language competency testing during the COVID 19 pandemic

The Teaching Council Matatū Aotearoa has had queries from English language test providers and ITE providers about whether the Council will approve online testing for English language competency, for applicants for New Zealand registration and initial teacher education programmes who cannot take a test face-to-face because of COVID 19 restrictions.

The Council’s Language Competency for Teaching in Aotearoa New Zealand Policy sets out the requirements for language competency for teacher registration and applications for selection into ITE programmes, including the list of approved English language competency tests.

These requirements remain, however the Council will accept online English language competency testing from approved test providers during the period of COVID 19 pandemic restrictions under the following parameters:

  • English language competency test providers who wish to provide online tests (where these were not already in place) must provide evidence to the Council of how they will ensure test validity and security.
  • This applies to language competency testing for both teacher registration and ITE applications.
  • The amended approach is in place for the period of the COVID 19 restrictions -  if test providers wish to continue offering online testing, they will need to review the effectiveness of their online processes before doing so and provide the Council with a proposal of how online testing will be undertaken.

Letter to Minister Hipkins about proposed move to Alert Level 3

On Friday April 17 we sent a letter to the Minister of Education Chris Hipkins about the potential move into Alert Level 3.

There are concerns about how you can safely and practically move to Level 3. It is crucial the health and safety of teachers, their whānau and the children and young people they teach is top of mind. There are still some unknowns about how this will work in practice.

Any plan for re-opening schools must acknowledge the expertise of leaders and teachers - you know your setting, community and learners better than anyone and you need to be part of the decision-making. 

We have also given media interviews to further explain the letter:

RNZ Morning Report Coronavirus: Teaching Council wants principals to decide if schools open

NZ Herald Covid 19 coronavirus: Decision to reopen should lie with school leaders, Teaching Council says

Stuff Coronavirus: ECE centres beg Government to keep childcare centres closed under Level 3

Newshub Coronavirus: Teachers want right to choose when their own schools re-open

Open letter to Prime Minister Ardern

On Monday March 23 we sent an open letter to Prime Minister Ardern asking for action to close, kura, centres and schools to combat the spread of the disease

Many teachers came to us as their professional body to speak up for schools, kura and centres to be closed. We’re aware that not every teacher wanted this, but the concerns of teachers who came to us detailing the reality of how difficult things had become for them could not be ignored. We know you were prepared to continue to go to work and do what was needed – because being there for children and young people is engrained in what it means to be a teacher – but many were worried about their leaners, their own health and wellbeing and that of their families. 
By no stretch of the imagination do we think we are health officials or pandemic response experts and absolutely defer to their advice. However, we were expressing the concerns of the teaching profession to the highest office, because our role is to ensure decision-makers have all the information they need to make well-rounded choices. I hope you felt the letter was respectful and professional; acknowledging the Prime Minister is leading in incredibly difficult times.
No decision has been taken lightly by our Government and every difficult decision has repercussions that will be felt by all. On Monday the Government made the courageous decision to move to COVID-19 Alert Level 4. So, these are extraordinary times we all find ourselves in, which requires equal doses of extraordinary leadership, kindness and calm from us all.
Already we’ve seen on social media platforms teachers offering their teacher expertise to their friends and family who are at home with their children. This is incredibly kind! Please take care to not spread yourself too thin during this time – take care of yourself, your family and loved ones.


  • Anxiety phone line: 0800 269 4389