The Teacher Registration Board NT (the Board) is responsible for ensuring the continuing quality of the teaching profession through implementing mechanisms to ensure that only persons who are fit and proper, appropriately qualified and competent to teach are registered as teachers.
The community trusts our teachers to keep children safe. If a teacher does not hold an Ochre Card, they cannot teach children in Northern Territory schools. This aligns the teacher registration processes with other working with children regimes across the Northern Territory.
The Board will consider whether you have a current Ochre card at the point of applying for, and during, your registration or authorisation. If you are registered and you cease to hold an Ochre card, the Board does not need to undertake its own disciplinary process in order to cancel your registration.
These measures are to ensure that people who pose an unacceptable risk of harm or exploitation to children cannot teach children in Northern Territory schools.
- What is an Ochre card?
In the Northern Territory, an Ochre card is required by law for people who are employed or who volunteer in child-related work. The Ochre card screening process is designed to ensure individuals who pose an unacceptable risk of harm or exploitation to children are prevented from contacting children through their employment. Ochre cards are decided by the Screening Authority (SAFE NT), a division of the Northern Territory Police, and are issued based on the outcome of an assessment of the risk of harm or exploitation that an individual may pose to children.
- Who needs to have an Ochre card?
Ochre cards are a mandatory requirement for anyone in the Northern Territory who works with children, in both paid and voluntary capacities. It is therefore necessary for anyone intending to teach children in the Northern Territory to obtain an Ochre card prior to working in a school or other educational facility. To demonstrate fitness and propriety to be registered or authorised to work as a teacher, it is highly recommended that you obtain an Ochre card.
- How does an Ochre card affect teachers?
The Board will now consider whether an applicant for registration or authorisation has a current Ochre card. You are required to provide current Ochre card details at the time of application for registration or authorisation, including registration renewal. You are required to update your Ochre card details with the Board where an Ochre card status has changed, or your Ochre card has been renewed.
To alleviate any possible delays in the registration and authorisation assessment process, it is recommended that all people who are applying for, or renewing, their registration, or are the subject of an application for authorisation, ensure they have applied for, or already have, a current Ochre card prior to submitting an application.
- What is the difference between a National Police Check and an Ochre card?
A National Police Check is one of the fitness and probity checks required by the Board. National Police Checks are a point-in-time assessment, valid at the time the information is released by police, and lists all offences from a person’s criminal history that can be disclosed. The Board assesses any disclosable criminal offences to determine whether someone is fit and proper to teach.
An Ochre card specifically focuses on a person’s eligibility to work with children. It is obtained through an assessment process conducted by the Northern Territory Screening Authority (the Screening Authority). In assessing for an Ochre card, the Screening Authority considers relevant criminal history, as well as employment records, character references and other reports about behaviour. Ochre cards are valid for two years from the date of issue, however eligibility for an Ochre card is continuously monitored.
The Board considers whether a person has a criminal history, and whether they hold a current Ochre card to determine whether someone is fit and proper to teach.
- Do I still need to obtain a National Police Clearance?
Yes, a National Police Clearance is a mandatory requirement for registration, however this can be obtained by correctly applying for an Ochre card. See "How do I apply for an Ochre card" for more information
- What if I don't have an Ochre Card / my Ochre Card has expired?
If your Ochre card has been revoked by SAFE NT, you are required to notify the Board within two weeks of the revocation. In this event, your registration or authorisation will be cancelled by the Board, without investigation or inquiry.
If your Ochre card has expired, or will expire before you are able to renew the card, you are required to notify the Board within 2 weeks of the card expiry date. There are penalties applied for working with children without holding a valid Ochre card and you should therefore also discuss the expiration or revocation of your Ochre card with your employer.
If you have applied for a new Ochre card, or a renewal of your Ochre card, your employer may wish to apply for an exemption for you under section 187(4) and 187(5) of the Care and Protection of Children Act. If you are granted an exemption, you are required to provide a certified copy of this to the Board in order to maintain your registration. Once your Ochre card is issued, you must notify the Board.
- Do I need to obtain an Ochre card if I am registered, but not employed as a teacher?
There may be extenuating circumstances where the Board may grant or maintain registration for a person that does not hold a valid Ochre card. These circumstances will be considered by the Board on a case by case basis, however discretion may be provided in certain situations, such as where a person is:
- on extended leave (such as parental leave);
- employed in non-teaching positions; or
- not living or working in the Northern Territory.
The Board may impose Ochre card related conditions on your registration in these circumstances.
As it is still a requirement to provide a National Police Clearance regardless of your teaching status, it is worthwhile to note that by correctly applying for, or renewing, an Ochre card (refer to “How do I apply for an Ochre Card?” for more information), a National Police Clearance will also be generated with the results provided directly to the Board, thereby eliminating the need for you to source and pay for both requirements separately.
- How do I apply for an Ochre card?
In order to correctly apply for a new Ochre card, you should complete the following steps:
1. Go to the SAFE NT website and commence an online application (preferred), or print the application form.
2. Ensure that you provide your consent within the application for the results of your Ochre card screening to be provided to the Teacher Registration Board:
- In the online application, this can be achieved by ticking “yes” when you reach the field indicated for teachers only; or
- In the written application, this can be achieved by signing and dating the authorisation section indicated for teachers only.
3. Complete the required fields and attach the relevant documentation specified in the application.
4. Submit your application to SAFE NT.
5. If applying online, print the copy of your application that is emailed to you as proof of your application. Provide this to the Board with your application for registration. If completing a written application, photocopy the completed application and provide this copy to the Board along with your receipt of payment for the Ochre card.