This section provides an introduction to the New Zealand Teachers Council Te Pouherenga Kaiako o Aotearoa (the Council) and its requirements, policies and processes relating to registration for teachers in New Zealand.
It provides key definitions that are used throughout the document, and a brief summary of teacher registration.
Purposes of the Registration Policy
Teacher registration is one of the main ways that employers, colleagues, learners and the wider community can be assured that a teacher is qualified, safe and competent
To be lawfully employed in schools, kura, kindergartens and in many positions in early childhood education settings, teachers are required to be registered and to hold a current practising certificate.
A practising certificate indicates that a teacher has recently demonstrated that they met the requirements for registration and can be lawfully employed in a teaching position.
The category of registration indicates how recently the teacher has met all of the Registered Teacher Criteria, or whether the teacher is yet to meet them for the first time.
A registered teacher is expected to be actively engaged in the process of gaining and maintaining registration and ensuring that their employment is lawful by holding a current practising certificate when employed in a teaching position.
This document explains the rules, guidelines, policies and procedures that the New Zealand Teachers Council Te Pouherenga Kaiako o Aotearoa (the Council) will use to interpret and apply the rules in relation to registration of teachers in New Zealand, and issue and renew practising certificates to teachers in New Zealand.
This registration policy applies to all registered and re-registering teachers in New Zealand. It explains how people can join, remain within and leave the New Zealand teaching profession.
The guidelines, policies and procedures set out in this document are underpinned by:
- legislation (the Education Act 1989 and subsequent amendments)
- ongoing consultation with the profession including key stakeholders
- engaging with the wider community (including learners, parents and employers) to support widespread confidence in the quality of the teaching profession.
The Council works closely with other government agencies, in particular the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), the Education Review Office (ERO) and the Ministry of Education (MoE) to help ensure a consistent and co-ordinated approach to the policies and requirements across the education sector.
This is a living document, first published in February 2012. The Council regularly reviews and updates its policies and procedures to ensure that it is effectively supporting quality teaching in New Zealand.
The Council consulted with the profession and considered whether any changes to the legislation, processes and policies that guide teacher registration would be helpful or necessary. Based on the information and feedback that was gathered, the Council implemented a phased programme of changes to registration policy and processes.
The overall intent of this programme of change is to ensure that teacher registration remains current, meaningful and relevant by:
- reflecting the diverse range of roles and responsibilities that teachers now fill
- making it clear that meeting all of the Registered Teacher Criteria is the fundamental requirement for becoming and remaining fully registered
- addressing areas where there is confusion about how registration works
- making it easier to understand what the different categories of registration mean.
Definitions used in the Registration Policy
The following terms are applied consistently throughout this document and to all registration policies and guidelines.
This term refers to the official recognition of a course by accrediting bodies in a state or territory. It indicates that academic quality and standards have been checked and verified.
Ākonga are learners who may be in a range of settings, from early childhood to secondary and beyond.
Throughout the Council policies and guidelines ‘learners’ and ‘students’ can be read interchangeably with ākonga.
An approved setting for gaining and/or maintaining full registration is any organisation that is part of the general education system, or an organisation that has been granted approval by the Council for the purpose of gaining and/or maintaining full registration.
The settings approved by the Council are usually organisations such as museums, professional training bodies, providers of approved teacher education or alternative education settings who employ teachers to deliver programmes of education to ākonga.
Categories of registration
There are three categories of registration: provisional, full and subject to confirmation.
The category of registration is an indicator of whether a teacher has yet to meet all of the Registered Teacher Criteria for the first time (provisional), has recently met the Registered Teacher Criteria (full), or has previously met the Registered Teacher Criteria but not recently (subject to confirmation).
Experienced Teacher/Pouako (for registration)
An experienced teacher is someone who has at least two years of teaching experience and has either:
- demonstrated that they have met the Registered Teacher Criteria by having held full registration or its equivalent at any time in New Zealand (the Council will consider any person who has ever been listed on the secondary teachers classification (the List B register) or for primary teachers held a Trained Teachers Certificate as being an experienced teacher); or
- met the following requirements (usually overseas teachers):
- having held a senior teaching position (at the level of Head of Department or higher); and
- having more than five years of teaching experience; and
- having undertaken professional learning and development associated with teaching and learning within the last five years; and
- having had a professional appraisal of their teaching and learning by a supervisor within the last five years
Experienced teachers can be either fully registered or registered subject to confirmation.
Likely to be a satisfactory teacher
A teacher is likely to be a satisfactory teacher if their experience and training signals that they are likely to meet the Registered Teacher Criteria when they can be meaningfully assessed against them.
Refer to the Likely to be a Satisfactory Teacher Policy for more information and explanation.
Meets the Registered Teachers Criteria
A teacher has met the Registered Teacher Criteria when:
- they have been appraised by their professional leader who most recently employed them in a teaching position for a minimum of six consecutive weeks; and
- this professional leader can attest that the teacher has provided evidence of meeting all the Registered Teacher Criteria
For those teachers applying to gain full registration, the most recent six week period of teaching is required to have been completed within the last six months.
A teacher who has completed their teacher education programme outside of New Zealand.
A current practising certificate allows a teacher to be lawfully employed in a teaching position in a school, kura, kindergarten, and in many positions in early childhood education settings. A practising certificate is issued for three years.
Having a current practising certificate signals that a teacher has recently demonstrated that they met the requirements for registration. The practising certificate also shows the category of registration they currently hold.
Recent teaching experience
Recent teaching experience is relevant to the definition ‘satisfactory recent teaching experience’ and relates to employment in a teaching position/s1 in the New Zealand general education system or other setting approved by the Council, and means either
- two years of uninterrupted employment in a teaching position completed within the last five years2; or
- one year of uninterrupted employment in a teaching position completed within the last three years3
Two years of uninterrupted employment means an accumulated period of teaching of not less than 72 weeks completed in blocks of six consecutive weeks or more
One year of uninterrupted employment means an accumulated period of teaching of not less than 36 weeks completed in blocks of six consecutive weeks or more4
Registered Teacher Criteria
Throughout the Council policies and guidelines the ‘Registered Teacher Criteria’ can be read to mean the Registered Teacher Criteria or, until 2011, the Satisfactory Teacher Dimensions.
Satisfactory professional learning and development
The Council considers that professional learning and development is satisfactory when the teacher has met the following key indicators from the Registered Teacher Criteria
- identified professional learning goals in consultation with colleagues
- participated responsively in professional learning opportunities within the learning community
- initiated learning opportunities to advance personal professional knowledge and skills5
- actively contributed to the professional learning community6
In addition, a teacher should demonstrate criterion 12 of the Registered Teacher Criteria and its key indicators to effectively incorporate professional learning and development within their professional practice.
A teacher is required to have met all of the Registered Teacher Criteria, including the above key indicators relating to professional learning and development, to renew a practising certificate with full registration.
Satisfactory recent teaching experience
This is defined in the Education Act 1989 as recent experience (see earlier explanation and definition) that has been satisfactorily completed in the previous five years. The Council has discretion to determine whether a teacher has ‘satisfactorily completed’ their recent teaching experience.
The Council will consider:
- the view of the teacher’s professional leader, or his or her employer if the person is a professional leader;
- whether the teacher has been able to be meaningfully assessed against the Registered Teacher Criteria;
- whether the teacher has met the Registered Teacher Criteria; and
- any other relevant matter
Refer to the Satisfactory Recent Teaching Experience Policy for more information and explanation.
Satisfactorily trained to teach
The Council will consider a person satisfactorily trained to teach if they
- have a tertiary level qualification/s that include sufficient elements of teacher education; and
- can demonstrate that they meet the Graduating Teacher Standards
In exceptional circumstances only, the Council may consider that a person who does not meet the requirements may be satisfactorily trained to teach. These exceptional circumstances and the process for making discretionary decisions are set out in the Satisfactory Recent Teaching Experience Policy.
The Council considers how recently the Graduating Teacher Standards have been met to be relevant for teachers applying for registration for the first time, and provisionally registered teachers reapplying for provisional registration.
See the Satisfactorily Trained to Teach Policy for further information and explanation.
Teacher Education Refresh (TER) programme
A programme of study and supervised practicum focused on the current education ‘landscape’ and changes that have occurred over the previous six years. TER programmes are delivered by providers approved by the Council and are based on a curriculum developed and owned by the Council.
Under the Education Act 1989 (Part 10 s 120), a teaching position is defined as a position in the general education system that:
- requires its holder to instruct students; or
- is the professional leader, deputy professional leader, or assistant principal of a school; or
- is the professional leader of an early childhood service or other educational institution.
The Council interprets ‘instructs students’ as the person in the teaching position having responsibility for teaching and learning.
A person is considered to have responsibility for teaching and learning if their job description expects them to:
- cause learning (either as an individual or a member of a teaching team) and
- to act autonomously and without day to day supervision.
For clarity, the Council considers this:
- includes positions where the teacher has responsibility for the teaching and learning of other teachers, but may not have regular contact with children or young people
- includes casual and day-relief positions
- includes positions where the teacher receives mentoring or other forms of regular support and supervision from other teachers as they still retain autonomy for their own teaching and learning and are expected to be teaching without day-to-day supervision.
- excludes the position of teacher aide and other educational support staff
“Too part time or too casual”
When used in this policy this means:
- in the view of the teacher’s professional leader, the teaching position has been too casual to enable the teacher to be meaningfully assessed against the Registered Teacher Criteria. This might occur for example where the teaching position is casual or day relief teaching and the teacher has no consistent relationship with any one class, group of students or programme of learning within any one school, centre or kura; or
- in the view of the teacher’s professional leader, the teaching position has been too part time to enable the teacher to be meaningfully assessed against the Registered Teacher Criteria. This might occur for example where a teaching position is for so few hours each week that their professional leader does not consider it meaningful or possible to undertake formal appraisal.
The Council will determine in any individual situation whether the professional leader’s assessment that the position was ‘too part time or too casual’ was reasonable in the circumstances.