The Education Council marks its first year

Issue: Volume 95, Number 13

Posted: 27 July 2016
Reference #: 1H9d39

The Education Council is the professional body representing New Zealand teachers. One year in, the Council is making solid progress on key projects to enhance the profession through excellent and innovative teaching practice.

The Education Council is about championing the profession – elevating the status of teaching and speaking up and out for teachers.

The Council is independent but acts in the interests of teachers to enable and support leadership, establish and maintain the criteria for teachers’ practising certificates and registration, monitor and maintain the requirements for teacher conduct and competence, and establish and maintain a Code of Professional Responsibility.

Shifting gears

Education Council deputy chief executive Lesley Hoskin has years of experience in managing large IT projects and change management programmes and, having worked in the education sector for the last 10 years, has a good understanding of the challenges teachers face.

Now she’s overseeing the first step in the Council’s shift into applying 21st century solutions to the manual task of renewing practising certificates.

Lesley explains how this project will help teachers in their everyday lives.

So, what are you doing?

"We’re working on an online solution for teachers to renew their full practising certificates in real time. We’re working towards this being up and ready by the last term. Teachers have told us the process can be frustrating and time-consuming. We acknowledge this isn’t good enough in the 21st century when most of us are very familiar with online transactions. That’s why we’re working as fast as we can to get a solution."

"The solution will allow teachers to renew their full practising certificate in their own time and importantly, help them get it right first time because it won’t allow them to make mistakes. It’s a bit like online shopping – if there’s incomplete information buyers can’t make progress."

"This is good news for principals too because they’ll be able to verify proof of identity and endorse a teacher online as well. So it will make their job easier."

"The other good thing is teachers who are not covered by Collective Agreements will be able to pay their fees online. So no more sending cheques!"

Will all teachers be able to use this solution?

"At the moment only teachers registered to use the Education Sector Logon (ESL*), and who are renewing their full practising certificate, will be able to use the online solution. That’s because they are employed in a school and can already use ESL anyway."

"While this is actually quite a big group of teachers we acknowledge others will want to use this solution so we’re working hard to deliver something all teachers can use. This is an interim first step."

"We wanted to move as quickly as possible and help as many teachers as we could and we knew large numbers of teachers are already able to use ESL so we took a pragmatic approach. So at the moment only teachers with an existing ESL can renew their full practising certificate online but we are working on a solution for all teachers. We know it’s important and it’s a priority for us."

What do teachers and principals need to do to get ready to use the new solution?

"It would be helpful if teachers and principals could make sure their details are current. If they go to our website they can click on the ‘Update my Details’ section under ‘Important Links’. It’s very easy. We recommend they make sure they have their ESL username and password handy."

"If they don’t have a logon they can ask the education sector provisioning application authoriser in their school to request an ESL."

Will there be any training or support for using the new solution?

"While it’s going to be easy and intuitive to use, with lots of hints and prompts, there will still be online training modules available for those who want to take advantage of that extra support."

"We’re using Training Services’ Learning Management Systems which many ESL users will be familiar with. Principals will need to complete the training modules before they use the online functions."

When will teachers know when they can start using the new solution?

"We’re hoping to have it ready to use by the last term and we’ll be in touch. The best thing for teachers to do is make sure their details are current."

For more information click on FAQ in the Important Links section of the EC website 

New code, new standards for the teaching profession

Defining the future behaviours and standards for teachers is another project the Education Council has on the go. It’s inviting teachers to get involved in developing a new Code of Professional Responsibility and new professional standards.

Pauline Barnes, the Council’s general manager professional services, is leading these important projects.

“It’s about becoming a professional body rather than a regulatory one and while we’re required by law to complete these projects by July next year, we hope teachers will see this as a fantastic opportunity to reshape our professional aspirations and expectations.”

She says the Education Council is keen to build on the former Teachers’ Council’s Code of Ethics, which is now over 10 years old, and work with teachers to develop a new code, one that is fit for purpose in the new, challenging and dynamic world of teaching.

“How we use social media in our professional lives and how social media has changed over the last few years is just one example worth thinking about when we consider how we, as a profession, manage and define what we see as high standards of professional behaviour."

“The public holds teachers in a position of trust. We want the Code to honour that endowed privilege and reflect the high expectations the public rightly has of us."

“The Code also tells learners, families and whānau about the standards of behaviour they can expect from our profession.”

Teachers have also told the Education Council that they find the current Standards and Practising Criteria confusing to navigate and apply, she says.

“Our review will look at how we can simplify the Standards and make sure they reflect what we now know is important while providing a clearer path for a teacher’s career.”

She adds that this work will be underpinned by a set of shared values that inspire, motivate and unite the teaching profession.

Pauline is encouraging teachers to look at this as an opportunity to have a say.

“The Code and the Standards will be the foundations for the teaching profession. That’s why we’re keen for teachers to get involved and have a say in shaping them. This way we can set our own expectations for what drives our professional behaviours and define for ourselves what quality and qualified teaching means.”

So how can teachers get involved?

“We’re running a series of focus groups during term 3 to test initial thinking on the Code and help develop an early draft. We’re also creating a resource pack for schools and other stakeholders to run their own focus groups or capture feedback if they wish."

“We’re setting up online tools such as online surveys and discussion forums. These will help teachers share further feedback on our initial thinking and any draft documents.”

* Commonly known as ESAA.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 8:31 pm, 27 July 2016

Get new listings like these in your email
Set up email alerts