Department unilaterally waters down pre-requisite for approval to teach

Federation shares the Department of Education’s commitment to ensuring there is an adequate supply of graduate teachers to fill positions in NSW public schools, but under no circumstances should the quality of graduate teachers be compromised, Deputy President Henry Rajendra said.

The Department has retreated from then education minister Rob Stokes position that from 2019 all new graduates accepted to teach in NSW public schools would require a credit average or above.

The new position is that only graduates seeking targeted graduate status would require a credit average to be considered and that graduates who do not reach this standard would still be granted approval to teach in NSW public schools.

“This is yet another example of significant policy change without consultation or negotiation with the union,” Mr Rajendra said.

Federation General Secretary John Dixon has written to Department of Education Secretary Mark Scott expressing the union’s “deep dissatisfaction” with the change to standards.

The correspondence also asserts the need for further negotiation and clarification about unresolved matters regarding psychometric testing for candidates, which “went live” from week 1 of term 3.

The union opposes the testing and feels consultation has been inadequate.

Issues include that the Department cannot prevent fraudulent behaviour in relation to the cognitive test, whereby the person completing the online test is not the person who is applying for the approval to teach.

Thousands of pre-service teachers have already undergone the new procedures, including the new online teacher suitability tests and online video interview.

Federation’s Trade Union Training unit will host webinars in term 4, providing Approval to Teach information to Future Teacher members.