27 MARCH 2021
Under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006, an applicant for registration as a teacher may be granted interim approval to undertake the duties of a teacher if the person is entitled to that registration but it is not practicable to wait until the VIT can consider the application.
In January 2021, the VIT exercised its powers and granted interim registration to 853 students who had successfully completed their Victorian initial teacher education (ITE) degree in 2020 and had applied for registration. Interim registration was granted until 2 April 2021, or until a decision was made in relation to their application (whichever occurred earlier).
This was done to ensure as many new teachers as possible were able to teach in a Victorian school or early childhood service at the commencement of Term 1.
Interim registration was granted to Victorian ITE 2020 graduates who met the following criteria
- the Victorian ITE provider had confirmed that they had successfully completed their ITE degree;
- the applicant had undertaken a professional placement and been cleared by Working with Children Check Victoria (WWCCV) to engage in child related work*; and
- the applicant had made no adverse declarations regarding their suitability to teach on their application for registration.
Interim registration was not granted to
- a small number of graduates who had known suitability matters; or
- a larger cohort of applicants where the ITE provider was not able to confirm that they had successfully completed the program.
* Obtaining a WWC Clearance involves an assessment of the applicants' criminal record in all Australian states and territories across their lifetime, including serious sexual, violent and drug offences they may have previously been charged with, regardless of the outcome of those charges. WWCCV can also have regard to the findings of prescribed bodies, such as VIT. Equivalent information is provided in the Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks (NCCHC) conducted by VIT as part of its assessments of applications for registration
A recent media article in the Herald Sun references there may be some people who continue to hold a WWC Clearance despite having been found guilty of category A offences (serious sexual offences). The VIT understands that these instances may occur following an appeal by the person to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). In order to grant a WWC Clearance in these circumstances, VCAT must be independently satisfied that the person would not pose an unjustifiable risk to the safety of children, having regard to a number of factors outlined in legislation.
The legislation administered by WWCCV was recently amended to limit a person’s right of appeal where the person was found guilty of category A offence which was committed when the person was an adult.
It is important to note that, even if a person continues to hold a WWC Clearance despite having been found guilty of a category A offence, the person is not entitled to hold registration as a teacher in Victoria. If VIT becomes aware of these offences, any registration held by the person is automatically cancelled with no right of appeal.
Of the 853 teachers granted interim registration, the VIT is aware of 229 people who have been working in Victorian schools or early childhood services.
All registered teachers, including the 853 teachers granted interim registration, are subject to continuous criminal record checking with Victoria Police. Additionally, the VIT receives information pertaining to teacher conduct from employers, WWCCV and the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP).
If, through these checks or material received from other parties, the VIT receives information that a teacher poses an unacceptable risk of harm to children, and the suspension of the person’s registration is necessary to protect children, the VIT has the power to immediately suspend their registration on an interim basis.
The VIT also has the power to suspend and cancel registration in other circumstances. This includes when a person has been charged with a category A offence or category B offence, or they have received an interim exclusion notice from WWCCV.
The VIT prioritised the NCCHC for those granted interim registration so their applications could be assessed and finalised as quickly as possible. On receipt of any information from an NCCHC, the VIT assesses any disclosable court outcome (DCO) in-line with ETRA.
No teacher who was granted interim registration has subsequently been suspended or removed from the register.