Things to know about your child's teacher

How are teachers regulated?

A teacher must have a current practising certificate. This shows they are suitably trained and meet the appropriate standards to be a teacher. 

There are 3 categories of certification:

  • provisional
  • full
  • subject to confirmation. 

A newly qualified teacher will have a provisional practising certificate. They can move to a full practising certificate after 3 years and after having gone through a programme of induction and mentoring. Teachers must demonstrate they meet a set of criteria for quality teaching – the Practising Teacher Criteria.

You can see what type of practising certificate a teacher has by checking out the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand's website.

Search register – Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand(external link)

What are the quality control systems for teachers, and who manages them?

The Teaching Council manages the processes to ensure teachers are of the highest standard. Their certification programmes makes sure teachers are suitably trained throughout their teaching careers. Teachers apply or renew their practising certificate every 3 years and they must demonstrate they’ve met the Practising Teacher Criteria in order to get or renew their practising certificate. Practising Teacher Criteria are a set of professional standards for quality teaching. 

Each year the Education Review Office also audits 10% of the appraisals for renewing practising certificates. This makes sure there are consistently high standards of teaching.

The Teaching Council also reviews and approves providers of initial teacher education programmes along with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and the Committee on University Academic Programmes.

Do I have a say in who teaches my child? 

Talk to your school principal if you have any issues with your child’s teacher.

Where can I check to see that my child’s teacher is safe to teach and properly trained?

The Teaching Council's register should be your first port of call. The register will tell you what kind of practising certificate your teacher holds. A teacher must have a practising certificate to teach.

Who employs teachers?

School boards of trustees employ principals and principals employ teachers.

What should I do if I have a concern about a teacher?

Ideally, you should always talk to your school principal first if you have any concerns. Be clear about what these are - it’s very difficult to respond and act on vague concerns. Sometimes it’s not possible to go to the principal. If that's the case you can complain directly to the Teaching Council. Information on this can be found on the Teaching Council's website or call (04) 471 0852(external link).

Teaching Council's website(external link)

Do teachers have to go through any extra checks because they work with children?

Yes teachers are police vetted. The Government has introduced new laws, called The Vulnerable Children Act, which toughens up police vetting procedures for people working with children. You can read more about this on the Oranga Tamariki Action Plan website.

Oranga Tamariki Action Plan – Oranga Tamariki(external link)

Can anyone be called a teacher?

A properly qualified teacher will have completed an initial teacher education programme and hold a practising certificate. Schools also employ people to teach in specific areas – for instance music teachers.  These staff will have a limited authority to teach – this means they can only teach a specific subject because there no one else has those skills.  The best way to check is to look at the teachers' register.

Find a teacher register – Education Council(external link)

What qualifications are needed to teach?

A teacher must have successfully completed an initial teacher education training programme.

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