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The VIT may investigate whether a person’s physical and/or mental impairments seriously detrimentally affect, or are likely to seriously detrimentally affect their ability to practise as a teacher.

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The VIT is committed to treating teachers with impairments fairly and respectfully, and complies with all its legal obligations, including, but not limited to, those contained in the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 and the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.

What types of impairments does VIT look at?

An impairment is a physical or mental health condition, disability, or disorder.

Physical conditions and disabilities may include

  • brain or spinal cord injuries
  • multiple sclerosis
  • cerebral palsy
  • respiratory disorders, or
  • hearing and visual impairments.

Mental health conditions may include

  • schizophrenia 
  • anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, generalised anxiety, panic disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorders  
  • mood disorders such as depression and bipolar affective disorder, or
  • behavioural disorders such as oppositional defiance disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

An impairment may include eating disorders including anorexia and bulimia nervosa.

An impairment may also include alcohol and/or drug dependence.

The VIT may conduct a preliminary assessment or investigation into an impairment so that it can determine whether it seriously detrimentally affects a person’s ability to practise as a teacher.  

When determining whether an impairment seriously detrimentally affects a teacher’s ability to teach, VIT will consider factors such as

  • whether the person can comply with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST)
  • whether the person can comply with the Victorian Teaching Profession’s Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics
  • whether the person may present a risk to the safety and wellbeing of children under their care, supervision and authority
  • the current symptoms or characteristics of the teacher’s impairment, and the impact these may have on the person’s ability to practise as a teacher
  • whether the teacher is currently receiving treatment, and if so, the impact this treatment may have on the person’s ability to practise as a teacher
  • the professional opinion of the teacher’s treating medical professionals
  • whether there are any reasonable adjustments, modifications or assistance that can be provided to the teacher to aid their ability to practise as a teacher, or
  • whether there are any conditions, limitations or restrictions that may be placed on the teacher’s registration to address any impact on their ability to teach.

What happens during an investigation into impairments?

Where VIT receives information that indicates a teacher may have an impairment that impacts, or may seriously impact, their ability to teach, VIT will attempt to contact the teacher to obtain more information.

Where the information provided is not sufficient to enable VIT to make an assessment of the impact of the impairment, we may seek information from other sources. For example, VIT may ask the teacher to obtain a report from their treating doctor or psychologist.

In some circumstances, VIT will work with the teacher to arrange for an independent health assessment from a suitable medical professional. This may include a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Where there is sufficient information that shows a teacher’s ability to practise is seriously affected, VIT will try to work with the teacher to identify the best way to support them during this time. We will continue to work with the teacher as required, and to assist them to return to teaching once their impairment no longer seriously affects their ability to practise.

The VIT must also consider the safety and wellbeing of children, and so will take steps to ensure that appropriate action is taken to address any concerns in this regard.

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Visit the What if I have a suitability matter? page to find out more about what a teacher can do if they are the subject of an investigation.

What are the possible outcomes of an investigation?

It is important to remember that not all impairments will impact a teacher’s registration. The outcome of an application for registration or investigation will depend on the individual facts of each case.

Visit the Outcomes page to find out more.

Last updated: 06 Jul 2021

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