In 2019, the Department of Education changed the processes for gaining approval to teach in NSW public schools in a misguided attempt to address teacher supply issues.
Teachers in their final two semesters of their teacher education studies can now apply for an ‘interim approval to teach’ under the changed policy. Interim approval to teach with the Department will be granted for applicants who:
- hold a conditional accreditation with NESA
- hold a valid Working With Children Check (WWCC)
- are in their final year of study, have scheduled their last practicum and provide details of dates and locations for this to the Department; and
- aren’t aware of any reason why they wouldn’t be awarded a teacher education qualification at the completion of their studies.
An interim approval to teach lasts for 12 months and can be extended upon request, in some instances. Principals can request that an application for interim approval be fast tracked by Teacher Approvals.
Teachers with interim approval can be employed as a casual or temporary teacher, including in yearlong temporary engagements.
On the surface, this may appear like a great way for education students to be earning an income while studying and gaining valuable teaching experience, so it is vitally important that they are aware of the conditions for interim approval to teach and the potential long-term implications of extending interim approval to teach before completing a degree.
Teaching service as a conditionally accredited teacher with the Department will be counted in Band 1 towards the 406 days service required to be eligible for Band 2 salary and increased remuneration once a teacher gains Accreditation at Proficient.
Federation has fought hard to gain support for early career teachers, however, there are many vitally important conditions that teachers with interim approval do not have access to, such as beginning teacher support funding, unless granted full approval to teach by 1 March on a full-year, temporary engagement.
The challenges facing these beginning teachers are greatly increased without the necessary beginning teacher supports in place. This, combined with the competing demands of juggling full or part-time study, places our ‘interim-to-teach’ colleagues at greater risk of not sustaining a long-term career within education.
In a time of such critical and worsening teacher shortages, we must ensure those who are graduating and beginning their teaching career are supported to succeed and maintain their career within the profession.