The objective of the Teacher Registration (Northern Territory) Act (the Act) is to ensure that only persons who are fit and proper, appropriately qualified and competent to teach, are employed as teachers in the Northern Territory.
The objective is achieved by the establishment of the Teacher Registration Board of the Northern Territory (the Board) to register persons as teachers and to facilitate the continuing competence of teachers in the Territory.
Once registered, a teacher is eligible for continued registration if the Board is satisfied that he/she is a fit and proper person and competent to teach.
It is the case that, from time to time, the Board imposes a condition on a teacher’s registration in order to ensure that the objectives of the Act are met.
There are two instances where the Board may impose conditions under the Act, and they relate to two distinct functions of the Board:
In granting registration, the Board may impose on the registration any conditions the Board considers appropriate. These conditions are generally administrative in nature. For example, an applicant may have been able to provide the Board with a Letter of Completion from a university, but not a final Academic Transcript because the final Academic Transcript has not yet been issued by the university.
Provided the Board is satisfied that the applicant holds the prescribed qualifications for registration, and all other registration criterion have been met, the Board will grant registration and impose a condition that the teacher provide the Board with a properly certified copy of the final Academic Transcript after the university’s graduation ceremony, or at least within six months of registration being granted.
The Board may at any time, by written notice to a person, vary or revoke a condition imposed on, or impose a condition on, the person’s registration:
For example, a teacher has a condition imposed with a six-month deadline. As the deadline approaches the teacher realises they are not going to meet the condition due to circumstances outside of their control. They request a time extension. The Board approves the time extension and the condition is varied with a new deadline. Once the condition has been met the condition is lifted.
There are two instances where the Board may impose conditions under Part 6 of the Act, and they both relate to a Board inquiry being held:
For example, it is alleged that a teacher has assaulted a child (a school student). The NT Police investigate and lay charges, but the teacher indicates to the Board that they intend defending the charges, and why. The Board resolves to hold an inquiry, but the inquiry hearing is deferred until the outcome of the criminal proceedings is known.
In this scenario it is likely that the Board would consider imposing a condition that pending the completion of the inquiry the teacher shall not seek or undertake employment in any teaching institution where such employment places them, or may place them, in close physical proximity to a child below the age of 18 years. [This condition is imposed rather than the teacher’s registration being suspended, which is another action the Board could take.]
At the conclusion of the inquiry, if the teacher is exonerated, the condition will be revoked.
Every registered teacher in the Northern Territory is issued with a certificate of registration by the Board. A certificate of registration is also known as a “TRB registration card”.
The Act provides that the Director must issue a person with a certificate of registration if:
The TRB registration card specifies whether there are any conditions imposed on the registration.
If there are no conditions imposed on the teacher’s registration, the TRB card will state:
If there are conditions imposed on the teacher’s registration, the TRB card will state:
Whenever the Board imposes, varies, or revokes a condition on a teacher’s registration, it provides the teacher with a written notice.
The written notice is called an “information notice” in the case of Part 6 conditions.
In the case of conditions imposed, varied or revoked under Part 6 of the Act, the Board must notify the employer of the teacher, and may notify a former employer of the teacher.
The Board has no obligation to inform the employer in the case of Part 4 conditions.
If an employer wished to be informed of a Part 4 condition imposed on a teacher’s registration, it could seek this information from the teacher (ask to sight the TRB letter) or from the Board.
Before granting a renewal of a teacher’s registration, the Board must be satisfied the teacher continues to be eligible for registration and has complied with the conditions imposed on the teacher’s registration.
The Board may, by written notice, require a registered teacher to give the Board specified information that is required by the Board to assess whether the teacher:
If the teacher fails to comply with the request within 28 days after receiving the notice, the Board may cancel the teacher’s registration by written notice to the teacher.
Conditions imposed by the Board under Part 4 of the Act are not appellable. [However, if the Board were to refuse registration rather than granting registration with a condition (which is another action the Board could take), this decision would be appellable).
Conditions imposed by the Board under Part 6 of the Act are appellable.
Section 74B of the Act outlines the appeal process. In brief, the teacher may appeal to the Local Court against the decision, and must start the appeal within 28 days after receiving the information notice for the decision.