QCT to enter into voluntary agreements with teachers regarding minor disciplinary matters
New changes to the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) legislation have been implemented, including a provision that allows the regulatory body to enter into voluntary practice and conduct agreements with teachers found guilty of minor disciplinary breaches.
- New changes to the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) Legislation allow the QCT to enter into voluntary agreements with teachers found guilty of minor disciplinary breaches.
- One possible condition of these agreements is additional training for teachers in professional ethics.
- Current non-QCT courses are not adequate in providing targeted training.
Under the new legislation, if the QCT finds that grounds for disciplinary action exists against a teacher in respect of the teacher’s conduct or competence, the QCT may seek the teacher’s agreement to enter into a Practice and Conduct agreement.
The QCT is to consider the following matters in determining whether a Practice and Conduct agreement is appropriate:
- Primarily, the welfare and best interests of children.
- Where conduct relates to an offence, the circumstances of the offence and any prior offences and the court outcome.
- Whether the conduct or competence issue can be sufficiently addressed by the imposition of a condition.
- The seriousness of the behaviour or incompetence.
- Whether an agreement is appropriate to mutually resolve issues without the necessity for more formal disciplinary action by the Professional Capacity and Teacher Conduct Committee (PC&TCC).
- Decisions of the Professional Practice and Conduct Committee, the PC&TCC and the Queensland Civil and Administrative tribunal.
- The objects of the QCT Act.
The teacher must give written consent to enter into the agreement.
For the agreement to proceed, the QCT and the teacher must agree that a ground for disciplinary action exists against the teacher, and on the disciplinary action to be taken against the teacher
Minor disciplinary action for the purpose of the QCT Practice and Conduct Agreement Policy means to do one or more of the following:
- Not take further action against the teacher
- Issue a warning or reprimand to the teacher
- Impose conditions on the teachers’ registration or permission to teach.
One possible condition of these agreements is additional training for the teacher in professional ethics.
While the QCT currently delivers professional boundaries courses, IEUA-QNT Assistant Secretary/Treasurer Paul Giles said there is scope for external providers to develop courses that expand on the existing online programs QCT currently provides.
“Many of the non-QCT courses that currently exist are not targeted and therefore are not particularly for teachers.
“In order for these courses to adequately address the issues at hand, there must be more consideration into the nature of the conduct, and the tailoring of the courses accordingly.
“They must ultimately support and provide guidance to teachers in order to foster and enhance their professional judgements in their work,” Mr Giles said.
Our union, the Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU) and QCT have been engaged in a review of the content of current professional boundaries courses and have made recommendations to QCT based on this review.
An overview of all changes to the QCT legislation can be found here.